Monstera plants are beautiful, popular additions to indoor and outdoor plant collections. You might think that with their beautiful fenestrated leaves and potential for enormous growth, Monsteras might be difficult to take care of. With the proper knowledge, you can learn how to nurture this gorgeous plant with ease.
A Monstera needs 10-12 hours of indirect light every day. These low-light plants grow best indoors when placed next to south, east, or west-facing windows. It’s crucial to give your Monstera the correct amount of light to allow it to thrive.
In this article, I’ll talk more about why the right amount of light is so vital for Monstera growth, what happens if Monsteras receive too much or too little light, and some ways to keep your Monstera happy and healthy.
How Much Light Does a Monstera Need?
Monsteras originate from Central America and grow on the floors of dense, humid tropical forests, receiving indirect natural light that streams down through the canopy of trees. Although your Monstera may be indoors and surrounded by walls and a few windows, you can still simulate the same environment to make your plant happy.
Since a Monstera needs at least 10 hours of light per day, you can simulate sunlight when conditions aren’t optimal. Set up a bright indirect light over your plant, such as a grow light. Or you can move your plant to follow the sun throughout the day.
Monsteras are hardy plants that can tolerate many different light conditions. However, if you want your plant to reach its full potential, you’ll want to follow these guidelines.
Bright Indirect Light
Indirect light is the best light for your Monstera, as they prefer a full day’s worth (about 10-12 hours) of bright, indirect light. You can know if the light in your room is bright indirect light if the room is well-lit, and if the shadows are blurred and undefined.
Typically, placing your Monstera several feet away from a south, east, or west-facing window will provide it with the perfect amount of light.
If you’re unsure if a room is bright enough by just looking at it, you can use a tool like the Dr. Meter Digital Illuminance Light Meter from Amazon.com to help determine precisely how much light is in your preferred room. This meter is very accurate, and it has four settings to allow you to take readings no matter the light level in your room.
A Monstera needs some time to adjust to new environments. If it shows symptoms of being unhappy in one spot, try moving it closer to a window day by day to see if that helps.
Can a Monstera Grow in Full Shade?
A Monstera can grow in full shade as long as it receives enough indirect light. When your Monstera plant is in full shade outdoors, sunlight will reflect off other objects to give it the light it needs, but it might not get that same reflected light when it’s in full shade indoors.
Monsteras are considered low-light plants and can survive with very little light. However, not enough light will affect the growth and health of your plant.
Using a convenient cycle timer like the one on an LBW Indoor Grow Light with Stand from Amazon.com can ensure that your plant receives the light it needs daily. The light has a full spectrum of various light abilities, and it simulates the daylight to help your plant grow.
Can Monsteras Grow in Full Sun?
Monsteras cannot grow in full sun, as they will burn when placed in full, direct sunlight. Because they prefer indirect, bright light conditions, Monstera plants cannot tolerate too much direct sunlight without burning and possibly dying.
If you’re growing a Monstera outdoors, place it in a shaded area where the plant will be protected from the sun’s rays. Too much direct sunlight will scorch the Monstera’s beautiful leaves.
While indoors, you can tell if your plant is growing in direct, bright light by looking at the shadows on your walls. If the shadows are clearly defined and sharp, then the light in that room is likely too bright. North-facing windows usually let in too much bright light for Monstera plants.
Move your Monstera away from the windows in rooms that receive a significant amount of bright, indirect light to keep it healthy.
What Are the Signs Your Monstera Needs More Light?
The signs that your Monstera needs more light include when their leaves don’t split, when their soil remains wet for too long, or when they aren’t producing new stalks. A Monstera plant’s growth will be significantly stunted without enough light.
While Monsteras can usually grow to be around 10’ (3.05 m) tall, they can only do so when placed in the appropriate conditions.
Here are some signs that your Monstera plant needs more light than it’s currently receiving:
- The leaves aren’t splitting or “growing holes.”
- The soil never dries out but stays wet between regular waterings.
- It hasn’t produced any new growths, such as leaves or stalks.
- The plant isn’t growing tall.
If your Monstera plant is showing any of these signs, try moving it closer to a window with brighter, indirect light or placing a GE LED Grow Light from Amazon.com in a nearby lamp for a decor-friendly, aesthetically pleasing source of light. This grow light has a balanced spectrum that gives your plants the right amount of light at the right time.
What To Do if Your Monstera Still Looks Unhealthy
If you’ve determined that your Monstera is receiving the right amount of light every day, then there are some other reasons why your plant might look sick.
Below is a table that describes a few common symptoms, their possible causes, and solutions:
|Brown leaves||Overwatering||Only water your Monstera when the soil is dry.|
|Yellow leaves||Underwatering||Use an IPPINKA Soil Moisture Sensor from Amazon.com to monitor when your plant needs water. This sensor can be left in the soil full time so you can see how much water it needs.|
|Lack of growth||Dusty leaves||Wipe your Monstera’s leaves with a damp cloth every time you water to promote photosynthesis.|
|Curling, shriveled leaves||Not enough humidity||Use an O-Mei Stars Plant Humidifier from Amazon.com to promote a humid environment around your Monstera. This portable humidifier runs continuously for 5 hours and sporadically for 10 hours.|
|Leaf discoloration||Needs more light||This occurs when the soil has been wet for too long. Placing it in a brighter area will help dry the soil out faster.|
|Drooping leaves||Underwatering||Use a Fasmov Automatic Watering Bulb from Amazon.com to conveniently automate watering. |
If you tend to forget about watering your plants, this bulb is great, as you can fill it with water, turn it upside down, and stick it in the soil.
You only need to fill up the bulb every once in a while.
Variegated Monsteras Need Even More Light
Variegated Monsteras are a sought-after type of Monstera known and loved for their unique white and green coloring.
This rare white coloring occurs due to a lack of chlorophyll in the Monstera plant’s leaves, meaning that they require more light than regular Monsteras do. The chlorophyll-rich variegated Monsteras also take longer to grow, and more light will help speed along the process.
If you own a variegated Monstera and are growing it indoors, be sure to either purchase a grow light or place it in a room with a window that receives the brightest indirect light in your home to ensure steady growth.
Variegated Monsteras will still burn in sunlight, however, so keep it out of direct bright light.
Light and Watering Go Hand-in-Hand
If your Monstera isn’t receiving enough light, then you may notice that your plant’s soil will stay wet longer than it should. When untreated, wet soil can cause dreaded root rot and plant death.
Even if your Monstera looks healthy in an area that receives low light, make sure that your soil is drying out in an appropriate amount of time. Typically, it takes about a week for soil to dry out entirely, so if it takes longer than that, you should move your Monstera to an area that receives brighter indirect light.
More light will help the soil dry out faster, ensuring that your plant and its roots stay healthy. Conversely, if your Monstera plant is receiving a perfect amount of light but remains the same size, is experiencing leaf discoloration, or looks unhappy, you may need to adjust your watering habits.
Monstera plants are as simple to take care of as they are beautiful if you understand their needs. Monsteras need 10-12 hours of bright, indirect light. If they don’t receive enough light, it can cause drooping, discolored leaves, lack of new growth, and plant death.
Provide a Monstera plant with the right amount of light, and it’ll reward you with beautiful fenestrated leaves, impressive growth, and the satisfaction that comes from helping a large houseplant thrive.
- Greenery Unlimited: Monstera Deliciosa Care
- Monstera Plant Resource: Does My Monstera Need More Light?
- Monstera Guide: Best Monstera Light Conditions
- Bloom Sprouts: Variegated Monstera: Why Are They So Expensive?
- Couch to Homestead: The 7 Quickest Ways to Dry Out Garden Soil
- University of Wisconsin Horticulture: Root Rots on Houseplants