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How Much Light Do Monstera Plants Need? (+All Other Lighting Questions)

Light is one of the most essential factors when you want your Monsteras to have lots of lush green leaves. Your Monstera plants will thrive and look great with the right light conditions, ensuring prominent fenestrations. 

Monstera plants require 8-10 hours of bright indirect sunlight per day. Monsteras can also grow under low lights. But for a flourishing plant, bright indirect sunlight is perfect. 1-2 hours of direct but gentle morning sunlight is also suitable. 

Once you learn the basics, creating the perfect light conditions for Monstera plants is easy. As an experienced gardener for 12 years, I will share the detailed light requirements of Monsteras in this article. So, stick till the end to learn everything about it. 

Monstera plant placed near window

I have done my best to address all of your concerns in the article below. However, if you still have any questions or are confused about the article, you can receive personalized one-on-one assistance from me by leaving a comment below. I will respond to your comment within a few hours.


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Understanding Monstera light requirements 

Monsteras are native to tropical forests, growing under the shade of large trees. 

In the wild, the plants climb up the trees with the help of their aerial roots. 

As they grow upwards, Monsteras get more light. 

However, they receive dappled sunlight through canopies.

So, Monsteras grow best under bright indirect sunlight.  

A full day of bright light out of the path of the direct sun rays would promote the healthiest growth in Monstera.  

Let’s explore more about Monstera light needs:

Monstera light intensity in Foot Candles (FC) 

Monsteras need at least 75-100-foot candles of light to survive, although their growth rate may be a bit slower. 

Monsteras prefers around 200-500-foot candles to develop at a standard growth rate.  

For maximum Monstera growth, the best light conditions are around 1,000-2,000-foot candles

Will Monsteras survive under low lights? 

Monsteras can survive in low light conditions but grow slower than those in bright, indirect sunlight. 

Lowlights are common when you keep your plant near a north-facing window or too far away from windows, where it receives around 50-250-foot candles.

Can Monsteras tolerate direct sunlight? 

Direct sunlight for prolonged periods can burn the Monstera leaves and stress the plant badly, especially when the light intensity crosses 5,000-10,000-foot candles.  

However, you can let them have direct sunlight for 1-2 hours, provided the light intensity is around 1,000-2,000-foot candles

The early morning sun can be suitable as it’s calm and gentle. 

Duration of light for Monsteras 

Monsteras will stay okay with 8 hours of sunlight, but can tolerate up to 12 hours because of being tropical plants. 

Monsteras perform at their best when they receive around 8-10 hours of bright indirect sunlight daily. 

Monstera light adjustment to create an ideal environment 

Monstera plant not splitting

Once you understand the light needs of Monsteras, it is time to create an environment where they receive perfect light conditions.  

Since the indoor light conditions differ from outdoors, it’s tricky to match the requirements. 

Let’s begin with understanding the different types of sunlight indoors: 

  • Areas too far from the open windows or rooms with north-facing windows provide low light conditions. These areas will have only 50-250-foot candles of light. 
  • Locations with bright south-facing windows but far from sunlight are considered medium-light conditions. The light intensity is around 250-1,000-foot candles. 
  • Areas near the east, south, or west-facing windows that receive direct sunlight but are out of the path of the direct sun rays are considered to be bright indirect sunlight. The light intensity is around 1,000-foot candles. 
  • A location in front of the window where the sunlight hits directly on the plant is considered direct sunlight. The intensity can be anywhere around 5,000-foot candles.
  • Filtered sunlight, achieved by using sheer curtains or Venetian blinds to filter direct sun rays, provides an intensity nearly equivalent to indirect sunlight. 

Out of these light conditions, bright indirect and filtered sunlight is suitable for Monstera plants. 

Let’s see how to create an ideal environment where Monsteras get their best light: 

Monstera plant placement for adequate light  

First, find the correct location, primarily window directions. 

I get DMs where readers ask me to suggest the right window direction for Monsteras and other houseplants. 

As a beginner, it is difficult to understand which window provides the right sunlight. 

In this section, I will share all four window directions and the light types they produce: 

1. South-facing windows 

South-facing windows provide the maximum direct sunlight throughout the day. 

Monsteras near this window will get direct sun exposure, resulting in sunburns. 

Use sheer curtains to filter the light or move your plant away from the path of the direct sun rays.

2. West-facing windows 

West-facing windows provide gentle sunlight in the morning, but the intensity increases in the afternoon

Your Monstera will stay fine in the morning, but might suffer from burns in the afternoon near this window. 

Here also, you can filter it by putting up curtains or blinds or keeping it out of the way of the direct sun rays. 

3. East-facing windows 

Monstera Deliciosa

The east-facing window in my house is quite large, and my Monsteras have thrived in this direction for years. 

You will get perfect, bright, indirect sunlight throughout the day. 

This window provides perfect gentle sunlight throughout the day with some shade in the afternoon. 

You don’t need Venetian blinds or sheer curtains, or maintain long distances. 

Just ensure any trees or buildings don’t block the sunlight. 

4. North-facing windows 

North-facing windows provide the lowest or no sunlight for people living in the northern hemispheres.  

So, Monsteras may survive but won’t be performing at its best. 

Besides, their fenestrations will be affected. 

However, it will still work if no trees or buildings create a blockage or the window isn’t tiny. 

But in the southern hemisphere, it is equivalent to the south-facing windows. 

In that case, you must set up curtains or Venetian blinds. 

Light measurement and tools for the perfect lighting for Monstera 

After finding the right location, measure the light intensity to check it’s perfect for Monsteras. 

To measure the right light intensity, use the following tools and see the readings: 

1. Light meter or light meter app 

You can use a light meter ( Dr.meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance Light Meter, 0-200,000 Measurement Range Lux Meter) or a light meter app to measure the light intensity of the chosen location of Monstera. 

Take the device near the location and see the reading. 

You will get the reading both in lux or foot candles. Use as per your choice. 

If you are using the app, open it on your phone, take it close to the selected area, and check the reading. 

2. Lux meter 

In the lux meter, you will receive the light readings in lux. 

Convert the foot candle value to lux, then check the reading in your lux meter. 

For example, 200-500-foot candles mean 2,152-5,381 lux, and 1,000-2,000-foot candles mean 10,763-21527 lux. 

Take the lux meter near the location and check the reading. 

Adjusting the light conditions for Monstera 

Monstera plant growing in bright light

Let’s say you have found a location for your Monstera, but the light readings are perfect for Monsteras. 

You also don’t have any other best option.

In that case, you can create the right light conditions with a few adjustments. 

1. Light diffusion to prevent burns in Monsteras 

You can diffuse the sunlight for Monstera. 

It means you will put an object between the sunlight and your plant. 

The object will filter the sun’s rays and reduce the sunlight intensity. 

If the sunlight from the window seems too direct, use sheer curtains or Venetian blinds to filter the light and reduce the chances of sunburns. 

Primarily, south and west-facing windows will need light diffusion. 

2. Distance to prevent burns and create perfect light conditions for Monsteras 

Increase the distance between the window and your Monsteras to reduce the sunlight intensity. 

For excessive direct sunlight (mainly for south or west-facing windows), maintain an 8-10 ft. distance. 

If the sunlight is perfect (east-facing windows), keep your plant only 2-3 ft. from the window. 

3. Seasonal light changes and how to adjust the light for Monsteras 

The light level will change based on seasons. 

Adjust it to make it perfect for Monsteras. 

Here are the different light levels based on seasons and how to adjust them:  

  • As spring arrives, the sunlight provides good warmth with a gentle touch. You need to gradually shift your Monsteras to the brighter locations of your house. 
  • During the summers, the sun’s intensity is at its peak. In that case, approach for light diffusion and distance to prevent the direct sunlight from burning your Monsteras. 
  • As the fall arrives, the temperature starts reducing, as does the sunlight’s intensity. You don’t have to diffuse the light or create distance anymore.  
  • In the winter, the light level reduces, and getting a perfect light condition for Monsteras is challenging. Keep your Monsteras near sunny windows, like south or west-facing windows, or use supplemental Grow light. Keep an eye out for burns. 

4. Rotate your Monstera for consistent light exposure  

Consider the sunlight orientation to create perfect light settings for Monsteras.

For a consistent light level, rotate your plant occasionally to ensure all sides get equal light. 

Monsteras have a circadian rhythm, and you must maintain consistent light levels through regular rotation. 

Monstera varieties and special lighting considerations 

Monstera plant in pot

There are several Monstera varieties, and they all belong to the same genus. 

However, a few of them, like Monstera Deliciosa, Monstera adansonii, and Monstera obliqua, are mostly kept as houseplants. 

They thrive best under bright indirect sunlight, withstand low light, and burn under direct sunlight. 

For variegated Monstera varieties, ensure they receive sufficient sunlight.

Due to their variegation, they don’t have enough chlorophyll to absorb enough sunlight. 

So, please keep them in an area with bright, indirect sunlight for healthy development and variegation.  

Can I grow Monstera under artificial Grow lights?

Though artificial lights cannot replace the goodness of natural light, Monsteras can live under Grow lights if you use the right light type and duration. 

To achieve distinctive fenestrations in Monsteras, give them 10-12 hours of daily indirect lighting from Grow lights. 

While choosing an artificial light for Monstera, ensure it is efficient, provides an appropriate spectrum, and doesn’t produce heat. 

The best Grow light options for Monsteras are: 

  1. LED grow lights are known for their energy efficiency, long lifespan, and good intensity. They can produce full-spectrum light, which resembles natural light, and their lower output reduces the risk of sunburn. Try DYMOND BoostGro LED Grow Light Full Spectrum Linkable 5000K Daylight + 660nm Red Indoor Plant Lighting Fixture (2 FT, Black)… 
  2. The next option is fluorescent lights (compact fluorescent and T5 tubes). They provide a bright illumination for Monstera’s growth. One good option is Hydrofarm Agrobrite Designer T5, FLP44, 216W 4 Foot, 4-Tube Fixture with Lamps Fluorescent Grow Light, 4-Feet/4-Tube, Brown.  

Keep a few things in mind while using artificial lights: 

  • Use fluorescent or LED lights with a 2,700-3,000K color spectrum and a PAR value between 100-400 μmol/m2/s
  • Keep a minimum distance of 12 inches between the plant and the light. Adjust to 18-24 inches based on leaf response. 
  • Keep the light on for at least 10-12 hours for the plant’s adequate growth and development. 
  • Keep the light off for about 8-12 hours to let the plant rest. 

Common light issues in Monstera and solutions 

Monstera

Now that you know the light requirements for Monstera and how to create a perfect environment for them, let’s talk about the problems related to light. 

You may encounter two issues: 

Monstera is not getting enough sunlight

While Monsteras can endure low lights, their growth rate will be slower than the plants receiving bright light. 

However, excessive low lights or dark corners will stop their growth and stress and deteriorate their health. 

With inadequate sunlight, chlorophyll production and photosynthesis get disturbed, and the plant begins to suffer. 

Here are some potential signs of low light in Monsteras: 

  • Lack of sunlight produces less chlorophyll, leading to yellow leaves. 
  • Limited energy production causes stunted growth and small leaves. 
  • Poor fenestrations or perforations in mature Monsteras 
  • Poorly developed aerial roots
  • Soil takes time to dry out. 
  • Leggy growth and stretched stems as they try to reach the light source. 

Once you see these signs, check the light conditions. 

First, fix the plant by removing the discolored leaves and pruning the leggy growth. 

Adjust the light by relocating your Monstera to a bright location (east-facing window) or using supplemental Grow lights. 

Don’t suddenly move to direct sunlight. 

That will stress and cause sunburns. 

Don’t water your Monstera until the soil’s top few inches have dried. 

Monstera is exposed to direct sunlight

Monstera plant leaves turning dry and crisp

While the early morning direct sunlight is fine for Monsteras, high-intensity direct sunlight is unsuitable. 

The leaves will start burning when exposed to direct sunlight for too long. 

Significantly, the leaves at the top are the first to show signs as they are more exposed. 

Signs of too much light in Monstera: 

  • Browning at the leaf tips and edges, indicating burns from the direct sun rays 
  • Crispy leaves 
  • Leaf scald due to burnt tissues 
  • Curling leaves for protection against sunlight 
  • Slow or stunted growth 
  • Witling 

If you see the above signs, check the light conditions. 

Remove the discolored leaves and adjust the light conditions. 

Move the Monsteras 8-10 feet away from the window or put up sheer curtains or Venetian blinds to filter the light. 

Shift your Monsteras to an east-facing window if you have it for good sunlight. 

If your Monstera has leaf burns with artificial lights, either you are using incandescent or HID lights, or the distance between the light and your plant is close. 

Use LED or fluorescent lights for better results, and maintain at least 12 inches of distance. If needed, increase it more. 

Final thoughts 

Let Monstera have bright indirect sunlight for 8-10 hours. The plant can also tolerate low lights but their growth rate will be slower. Direct sunlight for 1-2 hours is reasonable, provided it is gentle. Otherwise, relocate your plant or try to reduce the intensity by diffusion and distance. 

If you use Grow lights, use full-spectrum LED or fluorescent lights, keep them 12-18 inches away, and turn them on for 10-12 hours. Monsteras need 75-100-foot candles, prefer 200-500-foot candles, perform best, and grow faster with 1,000-2,000-foot candles. Before finalizing a location or window direction, measure the light intensity with a lux or light meter. 

If the plant gets less light, relocate it to a bright location or use supplemental lights. If the sunlight is intense, reduce it by maintaining distance and diffusing the light. Consider the seasonal light changes and adjust them accordingly. 

How do I test the light intensity without any tools?

Use paper and your hand. Feel the heat and notice the shadow on the paper. Sharp shadow and excessive heat mean direct sunlight. Soft shadow and less heat indicate indirect sunlight. No shadow or heat signifies low light.

Can I use incandescent grow lights for Monstera?

Incandescent lights are cheap. But they produce a lot of heat and are short-lasting. Instead, try LED or fluorescent lights.

Reference: Monstera Wikipedia


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