Monstera Light Needs: What Kind and How Much

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Knowing Monstera light needs critical. Why? Because direct sunlight will cause sunburn, and too little will negatively affect your plant.r These plants need bright, indirect light.

We have answers on Monstera light requirements, including how much and what kind. There is also a part on artificial grow lights, which window is ideal, and if you can grow Monstera on direct sunlight or low lights.

Since all the species have similar light needs, what you will learn will apply to your M. adansonii, deliciosa, siltepecana, or any other species. But variegated Monstera has more.

Monstera light needs or Requirement - Monstera deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa: See latest prices.

Why is light important?

It is vital to Monstera and all other plants because it plays two key roles.

  1. It provides a source of energy used in photosynthesis. How? Chlorophyll (the green pigment) absorbs light energy and uses it to manufacture food, i.e., convert water and carbon dioxide to simple sugars.
  2. All flowering plants (angiosperms) require it to make chlorophyll, i.e., there is a light-dependent synthesis stage.

It, therefore, goes without a say that you must provide adequate light to your Monstera if you want it healthy. But don’t overdo it.

What kind of light does Monstera need?

Monstera needs bright, indirect light from the sun or using artificial sources, so long as it is enough.

These tropical rainforest plants grow as either understory or climbing tree trunks. Here they receive filtered or dappled sunlight from tall tree canopies.

At home, you need to replicate the same. So, always grow your plants in bright, indirect light. But Monstera can withstand medium to lower light, especially those with darker or deep green leaves.

If you have a variegated Monstera such as Monstera borsigiana Albo Variegata, Thai Constellation Monstera stick to bright, indirect light. Otherwise, it will not have proper coloration and may even revert to green.

How long – duration

Knowing that your Monstera needs bright, indirect light isn’t enough. One or two hours won’t help. To the answer, Monstera needs at least 12 hours of bright, indirect light.

How much light does Monstera need (intensity)

Yes. These plants need bright indirect light. But it may not be the answer for people who use artificial grow light. So, we want to quantify how much light your Monstera deliciosa, adansonii, siltepecana, or other species need.

To give you the answer, Monstera requires at least 4,000 lux (4,00 footcandles) and at least 1000 lux (100 footcandles) for maintenance. It would help if you had a light or lux meter to measure it. Dr.meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance is an excellent brand to buy.

Dr.meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance Light Meter
Dr.meter LX1330B Digital Illuminance Light Meter: See prices.

Don’t feel lost. We are going to break down everything. In the end, you will know what lux or candle force are and light intensity measurement.

To measure light intensity, you use either lumens or illuminance. Lumens (lm) give you the amount of light your eyes can see. The higher it is, the brighter.

On the other hand, illuminance, measured in lux or footcandles, is the number of lumens falling a unit area, lux being on a square meter area, and footcandles in a square foot.

For instance, if you use a 1000-lumen bulb and shine it on one square meter area, you will have 1000 lux. But if you illuminate it over a 10 square meter, the intensity will be 100 lux, meaning it will be dimmer.

Note: 1 lux = 0.092903 footcandles. In our table, for our table, we will round off, i.e., 1 lux = 0.1 footcandle.

Here is a table to help elaborate direct sun, bright indirect, medium, low, and very low light. It will help you further.

KindLux (approximate foot candles)Comment
Direct sunlightUp to 120,000 (12,000)It will cause sunburn to most indoor plants. Glass windows will reduce intensity.
Direct indoor light (passed through a glass window)20,000–50,000 (2,000-5,000)  It’s comparable to placing your plant next to a south-facing window in the northern hemisphere or North facing in the southern. Direct indoor light is ideal for houseplants that need full sun.
Bright direct light (shade with clear sky)10,000 to 20, 000 (1,000 to 2,000)      Bright indirect light is ideal for Monstera and plants that receive dappled sunlight in nature. It will cast a shadow but not clearcut and faint if you block it.
Medium light2,500-10,000 (250 to 1,000)  Non-variegated Monsteras will grow just fine in medium light. But at a slower rate. It’s like putting your plant a few feet away from an east-facing window where it doesn’t get direct sunlight.
Low light (deep shade)500-2500 (50 – 250)  It is equivalent to putting your Monstera several feet away from a north-facing window. If at least 1000 lux, it will maintain your plants, and they will minimally grow.
Very low lightLess than 500 (less than 50)  The house will feel dull, but you can still read in it. It’s like placing your plant several feet away on a north-facing window during winter. It cannot maintain your Monstera, and you may start showing signs of too little light.

Can Monstera grow in low light?

To tell you whether Monstera can live in low light or not, one needs to understand the low light level you are talking about in your case.

Very low lights, below 1000 lux (100 footcandles) like a heavily shaded window, you may begin seeing some undesirable effects.

Some of the signs of low light in Monstera include:

  • Leaves turn yellow, light green, paler or whitish because your plant cannot make enough chlorophyll.
  • Leggy Monstera stems – i.e., they become thinner and have longer as they attempt to grow towards the light.
  • Your plant will have a longer internode, making the leaves look sparse.  
  • Older leaves dropping
  • Variegated Monsteras will revert to green
  • Slow growth
  • Soil takes longer to dry

 Can I grow Monstera in direct sunlight?

We wouldn’t recommend growing Monstera in direct sun, i.e., it doesn’t need direct sunlight.  But if well acclimated and the sun isn’t so bright, it may tolerate it.

Direct sun will cause a sunburn on your Monstera. Some of the symptoms you may notice include the following:

  • Bleached leaves: Leaves will look paler, yellowish, whitish, or look dull and washed out. It occurs as too much light will damage chlorophyll.
  • Leaf burn or scorch: You will notice brown crispy edges and tips. You may also see yellow or brown patches between veins.
  • Wilting and drooping: Plants convert excess light energy before dissipating it in various ways, including transpiration. So, they may droop since they are losing too much water and the cell cannot remain turgid.
  • Your Monstera leaves may curl: It will occur both to protect the leaves from too much light and minimize water loss.

Move your plant to a shade or move it away from a south-facing window. Also, you can use tints or sheers to block direct sunlight.

That is not all. It would help cut any leaves that have turned yellow or brown or trim brown tips and edges. Don’t forget to use sterilized pruning scissors.

Last but not least, those who opt to have their Monstera outdoor, find a place with a shade or have a greenhouse.

North, west, east, or south-facing window?

If you have trouble deciding which window is the best for your Monstera, we have a quick guide. Note that the north-facing window in the northern hemisphere is like the south-facing in the southern hemisphere and vice versa.

  • North-facing window: It receives the lowest light intensity with no direct sun in the northern hemisphere. Its lighting resembles a deep shade and may not suit your Monstera in winter.
  • East-facing window: Your plant will receive early morning sun, which is ok. During the rest of the day, it will have bright, indirect light
  • West-facing window: It receives bright indirect light in the morning to early afternoon. Late afternoon to evening, your plant will receive direct sunlight that may harm the plant. Place your plant a distance from the window to avoid leaf scorch.
  • South-facing window: It has the highest light intensity. You need to put your plant at a distance where it doesn’t get direct sun. Also, you can use sheers.

Using artificial grow light on Monstera

If your house doesn’t meet Monstera light requirements, you need to buy artificial grow lights. Relassy 15000Lux sunlike full-spectrum is an excellent pick. You can also buy any other brand. Just ensure it suits Monsteras.

LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants, Relassy 15000Lux Sunlike Full Spectrum Grow Lamp,
LED Grow Light for Indoor Plants, Relassy 15000Lux Sunlike Full Spectrum Grow Lamp: Check prices.

Other buying considerations include the area you want to cover. Also,  pick a durable one(hours it will serve you. And consider PAR or Photosynthetically Active Radiation (light available for photosynthesis in the 400 to 700 nm wavelengths).

Last but not least, pick a programmable one that allows you to adjust the intensity and illumination hours.

Frequently asked questions

Do Monsteras need a lot of light?

Yes. But bright, indirect light, not direct sunlight. As seen, too much sun will cause sunburn. Too little will slow growth, and if it is too little, it will affect your plant.

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