Ideal Light Conditions for Monstera Plants Indoors

In my experience, Monstera plants require bright, indirect light for optimal growth. However, I do find that they are adaptable to lower light conditions. Bright, direct sunlight can cause photobleaching, leading to chlorophyll degradation and leaf burn. Ideal light conditions for Monstera plants mimic dappled sunlight in a rainforest canopy. Where possible, a perfect location for Monstera houseplants is a few feet away from a south-facing, east-facing, or west-facing window.

Essential Light Requirements for Your Monstera Plant

The Best Light Exposure for Monstera Plants Grown Indoors

Monsteras require indirect light and generally thrive better in well-lit rooms, but they can also tolerate medium or low-light growing environments. A few key considerations to be aware of:

Choosing the Best Location

Monstera plant leaves with sun rays

When selecting the best location for your Monstera plant, you have a few options. One great place for your monstera plant is a few feet away from a south-facing, east-facing, or west-facing window.

All of these locations will receive an adequate amount of light. Avoid placing your plant right in front of a window, as this can expose it to direct sunlight and drafts.

If you don’t have a spot near a window, don’t worry! Monsteras will be happy in the interior of a room as long as it isn’t completely dark.

And if you live in a super bright apartment or house, you can always put sheer curtains over your window to filter the light.

Rotating Your Monstera Plant

If you place your Monstera plant in an area that receives light from only one direction, it’s a good idea to rotate your plant every few months. This will prevent your plant from growing sideways as it reaches for the light.

Time of Year

Another thing to consider is the time of year. Since Monsteras’ native environment is near the equator, they receive similar amounts of light year-round.

However, as you move further away from the equator, summers become brighter and winters become darker. The good news is that Monstera plants can handle this, so you don’t need to provide any supplemental lighting during the dark winter months. Their growth will slow during the winter, but this isn’t anything to worry about. For more, see our guide to Monstera plant care in winter.

Do all Monstera Plants typically need the same light exposure?

A potted monstera plant sits on a wooden table in a brightly lit room

While all types of Monsteras are members of the same genus, there are a lot of different species. Some species that are commonly kept as houseplants include Monstera deliciosa, Monstera adansonii, and Monstera obliqua.

These plants all have different forms, but they all grow best in indirect light. Bright to medium light is best, but plants can withstand lower light levels.

If you have a variegated Monstera plant, ensuring these plants receive enough light is extra important. Since these varieties don’t have as much chlorophyll as green Monsteras, they can photosynthesize less. So keep them in a space that receives bright yet indirect light.

How Much Sunlight Do Monstera Plants Need Each Day?

In my experience, Monstera plants thrive best with 10 to 12 hours of natural or equivalent artificial light daily. However, this doesn’t mean they need direct sunlight for this duration. They prefer bright, indirect light, so placing them in a well-lit room where the sunlight doesn’t directly hit them for prolonged periods is ideal.

If you’re using artificial light, such as a grow light, you can set it up to provide light for around 12 hours daily. Remember, like natural sunlight, the light shouldn’t be too close or intense to avoid burning the leaves.

Signs Your Monstera Plant Is Receiving Too Much Light

A monstera plant with a yellow leaf

If you notice your plant is experiencing any of the following, there’s a good chance it’s receiving too much light.

Discolored Leaves

If you notice white, brown, or yellow patches or drooping on your Monstera’s leaves, there’s a good chance it’s receiving the wrong type of light. Direct sun will burn Monstera’s leaves, eventually leading to dead tissue.

If the sun’s rays directly hit your plant, you’ll want to alter the lighting. You can add a sheer curtain to your window or move your plant a few feet away from the window.

It’s important to note that yellow and brown patches can also be caused by overwatering or underwatering a Monstera plant and also plant disease. If your Monstera plant isn’t receiving direct light, its discoloration probably isn’t due to too much light. Lack of growth may also indicate that your monstera plant is rootbound and needs repotting.

Signs Your Monstera Plant Isn’t Receiving Enough Light

A monstera plant in a dark, dimly lit room

While Monstera plants can handle low light levels, they perform best in medium to direct light. If you notice any of the following, there’s a good chance your plant could benefit from more light.

Slow Growth

If your Monstera is growing slowly but looks healthy, it might not receive enough light. Plants need light to help them produce carbohydrates, and Monsteras are no exception.

If you don’t notice any new leaves over a few months, try moving your plant to somewhere where it receives more light.

Since your plant will receive less light in the winter, it will slow its growth during this time. You don’t have to worry or move your Monstera; your plant will resume growth as light levels pick up in the spring.

Lack of Fenestrations

Fenestrations are the official name for the holes in Monstera leaves. These holes are a large part of what makes certain Monsteras so magical! Therefore, it’s disappointing if your plant is only producing solid leaves.

While Monstera plants under three years old might not have fenestrations, older plants should develop them. If your Monstera doesn’t have many holes, it’s likely due to an improper environment.

One major cause is not enough light. To solve this problem, move your plant to an area where it receives brighter light. However, you should still avoid direct light.

Why Light is Important to Plants

Why Light is Important to Plants

Before we dive into the details regarding light for Monsteras, it’s good to understand why light is important for plants.

Plants rely on light to help them convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and carbohydrates. This process is known as photosynthesis. Without light, plants cannot produce the energy they need to grow and complete the necessary processes.

While all plants require light, not all plants require the same amount or type of light. Understanding the following terms helps understand light requirements.

Bright direct light 

Is intense, unfiltered light. If you put a plant outside on a sunny day or near a sunny window, it will receive bright direct light. This type of light results in shadows.

Bright indirect light 

Refers to full light that isn’t straight from the sun’s rays. The interior of a room with a south-facing window has this type of light.

Filtered light

Is the light that passes through an object, such as a sheer curtain or the forest canopy. It is often similar to bright indirect light.

Low light 

Is similar to shady conditions. It’s often found in rooms with north-facing windows or windowless hallways and entryways. Certain types of plants can thrive without sunlight or minimal light exposure.

Native Monstera Light Conditions

A monstera plant growing in the jungle under the canopy of the forest

Monstera plants are native to tropical forests in Central America. Some Monstera species grow on the forest floor, others emerge from the soil and climb up larger trees and shrubs.

One of the things they don’t tell you about Monstera plants is that natively, they live in the forest, and they aren’t exposed to much direct light. Rather, they receive indirect light that has filtered through the forest canopy. Depending on the thickness of the canopy, Monsteras can receive bright, medium, or low light.

Monstera Plant Light Preferences FAQs:

Is Monstera a low-light plant?

Monstera plants can tolerate indirect light conditions though they will grow more rapidly in bright, indirect light conditions.

Can Monstera grow in artificial light?

Artificial growth lights can be used in rooms with minimal to no natural light exposure to help develop Monstera plants’ growth indoors. Just be sure to use a low-level setting and, ideally, don’t expose the plant to direct artificial light for extended periods.

Can Monstera live in shade?

The natural habitat for most Monstera plants is under the canopy of the forest shaded by surrounding trees and foliage so it will happily grow in shaded corners in most homes and offices.

How much light does a monstera need?

Monstera plants do best when they receive 5+ hours of bright, indirect light, but they can also do well in medium to low light.

How do I know if my Monstera getting too much sun?

If you notice white, brown, or yellow patches on your Monstera’s leaves, there’s a good chance it’s receiving too much light. Direct sun will also burn Monstera’s leaves, eventually leading to dead tissue.

What type of light does a Monstera plant need?

Monstera plants generally thrive in bright, indirect light. They can tolerate some shade, but if exposed to too much direct sunlight, their leaves can scorch or turn yellow.

Can Monstera plants be placed near windows?

Yes, placing your Monstera near a window can be beneficial, but the window mustn’t be letting in too much direct sunlight. East-facing or north-facing windows are usually a good choice as they provide bright but indirect light.

How much light does a Monstera deliciosa need?

Monstera deliciosa, the most common species of Monstera, needs bright, indirect light for the best growth. While it can tolerate lower light conditions, its growth may slow, and the distinctive holes in its leaves may not form.

Monstera Plants and Light – Wrapping Up

By providing your Monstera plant with the proper type and amount of light, you’ll end up with a healthy plant you can enjoy for years to come. Remember to avoid direct rays and provide bright to medium light.

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