For those looking to spruce up their living space with the iconic Monstera Deliciosa, you’ll need more than just a green thumb.
The key to ensuring this tropical beauty thrives is understanding Monstera light requirements.
Don’t be fooled by its simplistic beauty; caring for this plant requires finesse.
So, keep reading to learn;
- What type of lighting conditions do Monsteras need
- How much sunlight and artificial light does monstera needs
- Which areas are best for optimal growth?
- Signs of inadequate light exposure
- Right duration for light exposure to ensure it grows lushly and actively
Let’s dive right in:
Monstera Light Requirements
Monstera requires bright, indirect light to thrive. It can tolerate direct sun for short periods of time, but it’s best to provide filtered or diffused light throughout the day. Place your Monstera near a south- or east-facing window for optimal lighting conditions.
How Much Light Does Monstera Need?
Too much light or too little light is undesirable for your Monstera plant. So to ensure healthy growth, your Monstera should get a lot of bright indirect sunlight.
Monstera’s preference for bright indirect sunlight comes from its native habitat in tropical southern American climates. These climates are characterized by tall trees that form canopies above Monsteras that live on the forest floor.
Therefore, these broad-leafed indoor plants are accustomed to sunlight that is filtered through the canopies.
When grown at home, you must therefore mimic the tropical climate and ensure the plant receives lots of filtered sunlight from shaded areas of your home.
Indirect sunlight means the room or area remains bright without the actual sun’s rays hitting or shining on the plant.
This can happen when the plant is some distance from the window or next to a window with light veils, such as sheer curtains.
How to measure the amount of light for your Monstera
When determining the amount of light your Monstera plant is getting, you need a way to measure both the duration and intensity of light the plant receives daily.
The light intensity for your houseplant can be high, medium, or low. The time, on the other hand, is quantified in hours.
Here is how you can measure the amount of natural light reaching your indoor plant.
- Perform a shadow test.
Doing a shadow test involves blocking the light with your hand and checking the shadow to see how clearly defined it is.
The more clearly defined the shadow, the more intense the light. If the line around the shadow is dull and not clearly defined, the light is less bright.
When doing the test, ensure you hold your hand near the plant with your fingers spread between the Monstera plant and its light source. The idea is to ensure your hand receives the same light as the houseplant.
- A light shadow with fuzzy outlines indicates medium light, which is suitable for your Monstera.
- Dense shadows with well-defined edges mean that the light is too bright for the plant.
- Faint to no shadow at all signifies low light conditions that may be too dim for the houseplant.
- Measure it with a light meter.
If you prefer a bit of science, you can use a light meter to determine the exact intensity of the light reaching your Monstera.
This method is the most accurate way to measure the light condition of your plant. It involves taking the cap off the device’s sensor and placing it on a surface such as a desk or stool next to the plant.
Next, check the reading to see if it falls within the recommended range. Aim for anything between 100 and 500 foot candles.
If the reading indicates low light intensity, you may want to move the plant closer to a window. If it is too bright, move it farther from a window or light source.
- Readings from 25 to 100 foot candles signify low light conditions.
- Anything between 100 and 500 foot candles indicates medium light, which is ideal for Monstera plants.
- Readings between 500 and 1000 foot candles denote high-intensity light, which is unfavorable for your plant.
- Direct sunlight will have readings above 1000 foot candles. Naturally, this can gradually kill your plant.
- Check the orientation of the window near your Monstera
The amount of light reaching your plant will depend heavily on whether the window nearest your Monstera faces north, south, east, or wets. We will discuss this in detail toward the end of the article.
That said, your Monstera plant should be near a window with plenty of bright, indirect sunlight and no direct light. It should also not keep the indoor plant in darkness.
- Calculate the plant’s duration of light.
The duration of light refers to the number of hours your plant receives light per day. This factor is just as important as the intensity of the light that your plant receives.
Ideally, your Monstera should get at least five to six hours of sunlight per day. However, eight to 12 hours of daily sunlight is better.
You can determine the duration of light your plant gets by observing its light exposure throughout the day.
This can be a couple of hours in the morning and more in the afternoon—it does not have to be continuous.
How Many Hours of Light Does a Monstera Need?
Your Monstera needs a minimum of six to eight hours of light every day. However, Monstera will do better with up to 12 hours of daily sunlight since it is a tropical plant.
Notice that the hours of sunlight your plant receives do not have to be consecutive. Instead, they just need to be within the day. For instance, if the plant receives three hours of light in the morning and another four sunlight hours in the afternoon, the total count will be seven.
This situation can happen if your Monstera receives the morning light through one window, experiences a shade over the midday hours, and then gets more hours of sunlight when the sun shifts to another window.
How do I Know if My Monstera is Getting Enough Light?
While eyeballing sunlight to determine if enough is reaching your Monstera can be an uphill task, there are ways to get the information with less struggle. Here are the signs that your Monstera is happy.
1. Massive, broad leaves
Monstera leaves are generally large, but the plant will only reach its full potential growth if it gets enough indirect sunlight.
You can always tell when the leaves are overly large and healthy looking. If you notice this, the chances are that your plant is happy with the amount of sunlight it is getting.
2. Dark green color
When the leaves are large and healthy, they tend to be glossy with a deep green color. This is usually because the plant obtains the desired amount of energy from the sun. When this energy is sufficient, the plant can make enough glucose for its survival and well-being.
3. Lots of fenestrations
Fenestrations are the holes that form on the leaves of certain tropical plants such as Monstera deliciosa.
While the holes on the leaves are natural, the right conditions must be present for them to occur. One of the main conditions for fenestrations on Monstera leaves is adequate sunlight.
Therefore, increased fenestrations on the large, dark green leaves of your Monstera plant are a good sign that enough sunlight is reaching the plant.
4. Sturdy and healthy-looking stems
Like any plant, the stem is the conduit through which your Monstera transports nutrients, moisture, and energy across the entire body.
If the plant gets enough sunlight, it will be healthy, and this will show on the stem, which will be noticeably strong.
Monstera Light Needs: Signs Your Monstera Needs More Light
Determining if your Monstera is getting insufficient sunlight can be as simple as observing the telltale signs the plant will give. Your Monstera will usually provide clues to tell you if the light it is getting isn’t right.
Here are the signs a Monstera that is not receiving enough sunlight will exhibit:
Leaf discoloration on your Monstera
Like any plant, Monsteras need light to make chlorophyll or the pigmentation that makes plant leaves and other parts green.
Without access to the needed amounts of sunlight, your Monstera will be unable to manufacture the required chlorophyll, leading to the yellowing of its leaves.
If the plant does not get enough light sooner, the yellowing leaves will deteriorate further, eventually becoming brown.
Insufficient lighting may be responsible if your plant leaves have yellowing or brown spots.
Notice that too much watering leading to root rot will have the same symptoms, so you should check the soil for sogginess before rectifying the sunlight situation.
However, if you scale back on watering but the discoloration continues, consider moving the Monstera plant closer to a light source, which in this case should be a window. If it is already closer to one, you may want to switch it to a brighter window in the room.
The plant’s leaves won’t split
Splitting and forming fenestrations on the leaves are some of the things that only happen when your Monstera is getting the amount of light it needs.
With insufficient light, the leaves may remain without holes or divided sections for a long time. If you have had your Monstera for a few years and it is yet to have holes and splits on the leaves, it may be unhappy with its light situation.
Moving it to a brighter spot may help improve its situation and lead to the formation of split leaves and fenestrations.
Your Monstera soil takes too long to dry
Monsteras do not like their roots sitting in soggy soil for long periods, even though they require water to survive like many living things.
Adequate light helps facilitate the proper uptake of water from the soil. When the plant is not getting the amount of light it needs, its uptake of water may be diminished, leading the soil to remain wet for long periods.
Plants like Monstera deliciosa grow fast and big. Ideally, it can get as tall as ten feet indoors, growing at a rate of one to two feet per year.
With this in mind, you can tell when your pant is taking too long to grow. First, you will notice that the leaves remain relatively small over time, with few to no new leaves emerging month in and month out.
When your Monstera experiences stunted growth, especially in summer, inadequate lighting may be the problem.
Small leaves scattered around the plant
When the light supply is limited, the plant may make little food with the little light it is getting. When this happens, the leaves will not get as broad as they should, and the plant will produce only a few leaves to minimize energy consumption.
As a result, your Monstera may appear lean, with small leaves appearing sparsely around its shoot.
Leggy stems and vines
Your Monstera may develop elongated stems to try reaching further for light if it is unhappy with the amount of light it is getting.
These tropical plants typically develop vines that climb trees and other forest elements to reach for light filtered down through the canopies.
If the light is insufficient at home, they will likely attempt to replicate this behavior.
Does Monstera Need Direct Sunlight?
No, Monstera does not need direct sunlight. Instead, it prefers a spot with lots of indirect sunlight, such as filtered through sheer curtains.
This mimics the light they receive in their tropical climates, where tall trees form canopies that filter the sunlight reaching them.
How do You Know if Your Monstera is Getting too Much Sun?
Too much sunlight causes accelerated transpiration on Monstera leaves. As a result, the plant will look droopy, with curling, yellowing, or browning leaves depending on the level of exposure.
So if you see these signs or if the leaves turn white or appear sickly, you may need to move the plant away from its current spot to a shaded area.
Is Monstera a Low-light Plant?
No, Monstera is not a low-light plant, nor does it prefer bright direct sunlight. The plant does well in bright but indirect or filtered light, preferably five to 12 hours a day.
Keeping your Monstera in low light conditions may not kill it but will significantly inhibit its growth.
How Monstera Reacts to Different Lighting Conditions
Since Monstera prefers bright, indirect light, it will react differently to different light conditions.
1. Low light conditions
Monstera needs bright light to thrive. Subjecting them to low light conditions inhibits their energy synthesis and the synthesis of chlorophyll, leading to reduced or stunted growth.
In such conditions, your Monstera will likely produce small leaves and leggy stems and vines. The indoor plant may also lean towards a light source with its weak stem.
2. Bright, indirect light
Bright, indirect light is the ideal type for Monstera plants. The plant will develop large, deep green leaves with lots of holes or fenestrations.
Ideally, these topical plants make the most of bright filtered sunlight to make more chlorophyll and trap lots of energy from the sun.
They then utilize the trapped sun’s energy to manufacture simple sugars like glucose for food. Such a plant looks healthy overall.
3. Bright, direct light
Monsteras naturally prefer filtered light, so subjecting them to direct and bright sunlight may lead to too much transpiration and wilting. If this continues for a long time, the plant may die from dehydration.
Common signs of exposure to bright, unfiltered sunlight include yellowing, curling, or wrinkling of leaves and brown edges.
Does variegated Monstera Need More Light?
Yes, variegated Monstera needs more light to compensate for the areas of the leaves that lack chlorophyll.
The green parts of the plant’s leaves must work extra to trap more energy to create enough food for the entire plant, including the joyriding white sections with no chlorophyll.
Light Requirements of Monstera Varieties
Below are the specific light requirements for the different varieties of Monstera.
Monstera Adansonii light requirements
This variety of Monstera does best in bright, indirect sunlight lasting at least six hours a day. It can tolerate a few hours of the direct morning sun but find the direct afternoon sun too harsh for it.
Mini Monstera light requirements
Mini Monstera favors a spot by an east-facing window where it gets lots of indirect sunlight. Its leaves can get burned from exposure to too much sunlight, while too little light stunts its growth.
Monstera Albo light requirements
Monstera Albo is a variegated plant that requires a lot of bright light but cannot endure direct bright light from the sun. The plant will lose its variegation in low-light conditions.
Monstera deliciosa light requirements
Monstera deliciosa prefers medium to bright indirect light. The plant can tolerate lower light conditions, but such conditions can often cause leggy growth on Monstera deliciosa.
Monstera Light Conditions and Window Placement
Monstera south-facing window
If you live in the northern hemisphere, south-facing windows will have bright light for long hours. So you will want to keep your Monstera some feet away from this bright window because the plant prefers bright, indirect light and not the harsh sun rays associated with these windows.
Monstera east-facing window
East-facing windows tend to have a bright light in the morning, making them ideal for Monstera. Different Monstera varieties can tolerate a few hours of morning sun exposure but not afternoon sun exposure.
Monstera north-facing window
North-facing windows generally have the lowest light. Your plant will need to be right next to a north-facing window to make the most of the little light from it.
You may still have to provide supplemental lighting for that plant using grow light or industrial bulbs that emit red and blue light.
What is the Best Window for Monstera?
The east-facing window provides the brightest light with the lowest likelihood of burning your plant, making it the most ideal. However, you can keep your plant a few feet from a south- or west-facing window with good success.
Can Monstera grow in the shade?
Yes, Monstera can grow in the shade, even though it may not exhibit its best attributes, such as cut leaf foliage and deep green color under these conditions. The plant’s leaves will also remain small in such low-light environments.
Can Monstera grow in the dark?
While some Monsteras can survive in low light conditions, they cannot grow in the dark. They need light to manufacture their food through photosynthesis and survive.
Does Monstera need sunlight?
Absolutely. Monsteras need a minimum of six to eight hours of daily sunlight. The plant uses light to carry out photosynthesis, which is the process through which it makes glucose using the energy from the sun.
Related: Best Grow Lights For Monstera
Do Monsteras Need a Lot of Light?
Yes, Monsteras are tropical plants, so they enjoy access to a lot of indirect sunlight for up to 12 hours a day. If the plant has variegated leaves, its need for sunlight will be greater because the fewer green parts must compensate for the white parts that lack chlorophyll.
Notice that direct sun light may cause sunburn on Monstera, so ensure you keep the plant sheltered from the sun.