How Much Light Is Needed for a Growing Monstera Plant (Tips for Your Swiss Cheese Plants)

monstera receiving plenty of bright light on a windowsill

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Don’t be fooled- One of my favorite houseplants of all time, monstera deliciosa, isn’t as hard to care for as they look.

But it’s not easy to provide enough light for them, and that can make the difference between a thriving plant and one that slowly dies. The plant should have at least four hours of bright sunlight each day and will thrive in a room with natural or artificial light.

But don’t worry if you can’t provide them with enough daylight- there are other types of light to make sure your monstera gets what it needs.

You can use artificial lighting or grow lights to keep your monstera healthy. These are the two most common solutions, but there are some other things you can do if you don’t want to buy new lights or move your plant outside.

The real question is…

How much light does a monstera need?

Monsteras will need 10-12 hours of light each day, which is ideal during the summer but can be decreased to 8-10 during the winter months but will need an increase in humidity level. Your monstera will also need the light source to remain consistent year-round, so set your schedule accordingly.

If you have an artificial light source, you’ll need to keep it on for at least 12 hours a day.

a monstera plant placed in a bedroom receiving indirect lighting

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If there is no natural sunlight available, then you will want to use your grow lights for about 10-12 hours per day, then increase this gradually until you are providing 14 hours of light per day for best results.

If possible, try to keep your monstera plant near a window that gets direct sunlight for at least four hours each day. I like to use sheer curtains (you’ll love this one!) to prevent the sun ray’s full strength from scorching the leaves. If outside light is not an option, you will have to supplement lighting by using a grow light (this one will do the job for taller plants).

Related: How to Clean Water Spots off Plant Leaves {my secret weapon}

You can get one for yourself from your local gardening store or online. It’s important that you keep the light close to the plant because monstera plants don’t like their leaves to be over-exposed to sunlight. Too much sunlight will result in leaf burn and/or browning. You will need to check the leaves regularly for signs of burn and use a grow light if necessary.

Grow lights are less expensive than buying a new plant and it’ll keep your monstera healthy and happy! If you have no option but to keep it indoors with artificial light, then here is a video to help you on how best to keep your swiss cheese plant healthy.

What kind of sunlight does Monstera need?

A monstera prefers bright light, but not direct sun rays. Too much light will cause leaf burn and dropping of leaves. A Monstera can also survive in low-light conditions indoors as long as it is receiving a few hours of sunlight each day through a south-facing window. Monsteras love humidity, even when it is being grown indoors.

Monsteras are actually considered relatively easy to care for – maybe the easiest of all houseplants! You’ll want to water them when the soil surface feels dry and let their soil drain completely before watering again.

Plant TIP! Never put a Monstera in direct sunlight for any more than 4 hours. It may be a tropical house plant, but it can still get burned to death like other plants if you put it out on the patio for a long period of time during the sunny days in summer!

Can monstera be in bright light?

Monstera, also called the Swiss cheese plant, is a vining plant with large leaves and has a beautiful growth pattern. They’re pretty looking in their own right, but the real attraction comes from the dramatic holes, also known as fenestrations, that look like slices of swiss cheese.

Related: How to Get Monstera Leaves to Split (7 actionable steps to do now)

The vines can grow to be very long, and since they need a lot of light that’s probably not going to work for you in your apartment. Even if you have a huge windowsill or patio planter, the vines will grow on top of it instead of up towards the sun- so you’ll end up with a plant looking for something to climb. A monstera does best with a bright, sunny window and very little additional care.

If that’s not an option, you can add one of these:   

Monstera grow lights – You can buy them online or at your local gardening store. You could also use a full spectrum light bulb if you don’t want to buy any special lights. But Monsteras do best with low-level light, especially during the winter months when days are shorter. 

If you use a grow light or bulb to supplement your window, you might need to leave it on for 12 hours each day so it provides enough light throughout the whole cycle. If you have to turn your lights off at night, leave it on for at least 8 hours.

a mini monstera on a windowsill

The interesting thing about Monstera deliciosa is that it grows well even in low light conditions. I have a smaller variety of the plant, a mini monstera as some may call it, it grows in a small pot that is exposed to just enough sunlight. It’s not getting direct sunlight for more than two hours per day.

It already has over 10 leaves and many branches. I think for its size, it is growing quite well. But this plant does not stop at one or two leaves. It continues to have new growth and I am expecting a cluster of bigger leaves in the middle of my plant soon enough. I’ll probably repot it in a bigger pot when it gets larger in a few months.

Plant TIP! The most common cause of branch damage is when a Monstera has been moved into an area where it gets direct sunlight for any length of time. It’s not only the sun’s heat that can burn your Monstera, but also its ultra-violet rays. If ever you need to move a Monstera (to re-pot it or to bring it indoors), do so outside on a cloudy day so your plants don’t get scorched from the direct sunlight exposure.

How many hours of light does a monstera need?

Monsteras are tropical plants, so they will need plenty of bright light (at least 8-10 hours) every day, in most areas.

Monsteras need plenty of bright light to grow, but too much direct sunlight can make them get leggy. Make sure that your Monstera has enough indirect bright light from the sun or undergrow lights, or it will start stretching and get leggy.

A Monstera depends on the light it gets from the sun during the day and will thrive if it can get 12 hours of light.

a tropical monstera plant near a laptop in the living room receiving lots of bright lighting (a tip from how much light does a monstera need article)

I was on the verge of losing my monstera adansonii, but I found a way to save it. Turns out that all it needed was better drainage and brighter light! It’s been thriving ever since in its new spot near the living room window with plenty of natural sunlight coming through.

Thank goodness neem oil exists- this tenacious plant nearly had me pulling my hair out from stress about how sickly looking she became after spider mites took hold earlier this year.

Related: Do House Plants Attract Bugs?

Can monstera grow in shade?

Absolutely! Monsteras, like many indoor plants, prefer filtered shade to full sun, so a plant might be happy under an oak tree or under a canopy of bougainvillea after it is established. The thing about plants in limited sunlight is that they grow slower. Also, climate considerations are important.

A plant won’t be able to survive winter if it is grown in a cooler-climate location during summer months; likewise, if grown year-round in the tropics it will never adjust to transplanting elsewhere and dying when refrigerated for winter storage.

So follow these guidelines for success: have the plant outdoors from spring until autumn (and don’t move it indoors), then bring it indoors and put it outside again for the following spring and summer.

How do you know if your monstera is happy?

One sign of a happy Monstera plant is round and even leaves instead of ones that are curled or have lost their leaflets. Another important thing to know is that changing the watering habits isn’t likely going to make your Monstera plant happier. What will? Speaking its language, giving it all the love and attention it needs, such as with monthly cutting back…!

a close up of a monstera plant with tons of holes
  • A healthy environment too, so make sure you grow your monstera where there’s plenty of daylight without drafts (the sun’s rays can burn the leaves) and good air circulation (especially in winter).
  • To help regulate water consumption, a well-draining potting medium and drainage holes should be used.
  • It also helps to fertilize every couple of months during summer–balanced fertilizer with micronutrients is called for, and you can use a time-release fertilizer with the same elements as well.
  • You should cut back dead growth to encourage new leaf growth and because it is the natural way to propagate Monstera.
    • Cutting back should be done on a monthly basis, with the exception of light pruning at any other time. A little goes a long way with this plant!

If your monstera is a mature plant and has grown for many years, it probably needs water more often to do well. Many young plants may survive with less frequent watering if the pot is potted in rich soil that stays moist.

It’s always best to err on the side of less water than too much, as plants generally suffer more from being too wet than they do from not having enough water. Chances of root rot and fungal diseases will also increase.

Additionally, it’s important to identify whether or not your plant is happy by examining its leaves for signs of wilting – a sign that there might be an issue with either watered levels or the level of sunlight exposure.

  • Slight droopiness might also indicate lack of light, which can cause leaves to curl up. However, this usually isn’t the case with Monstera plants as they endure low light conditions very well.
  • Fertilizer might be necessary if your plant has not been repotted in some time; alternatively, a sign that it may need fertilizer is a thick, woody stem or leaves that are pale and unsaturated in color, or have dropped off the plant.
  • Monsteras can be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer and micronutrients (this one is a miracle worker) every month during their growing season.
    • Make sure to flush your plants with plenty of water after applying fertilizer to prevent salt build up in soil that could cause leaf tips to burn.

How do you know if your Monstera is getting too much sun?

If your monstera is outdoors, it’s likely getting too much sun if its leaves have turned brown. If you’re growing a young plant indoors or in a protected area outdoors, the leaves may burn and drop off. This can be prevented by placing the plant in filtered light or giving it shade when necessary.

Repotting with new soil that drains well should also help prevent this problem (if caused by overwatering). Using fresh soil will be the best way to decrease your plant from sitting in excess water.

  • Slight droopiness could also indicate insufficient sunlight – young plants need at least 6-8 hours of bright sunlight per day; older plants tolerate low light levels as long as they get sufficient water to keep their tissue hydrated.
  • leggy growth
  • lack of fenestrations/splitting
  • putting out smaller leaves at the bottom
  • new leaves not unfurling

As always, keeping your monstera healthy includes providing excellent drainage, good air circulation, and monthly cutting back on dead leaves.

Plant TIP! If your monstera is getting too much light, you may see its leaves turning yellow or brown and dropping off. These are signs that it’s being burned on the edges by the sun or artificial lights. Try giving it less direct or artificial light until new leaves have had a chance to grow in (about 6 weeks).

Related: Why Does My Monstera Deliciosa Have Yellow Leaves? (2 reasons why)

Can monstera live in low light?

Yes, Monsteras can withstand low light environments but won’t reach its full growth potential. This tropical plant actually prefers bright indirect light conditions – especially in the summer months when they’re acclimating to outdoor temperatures.

a photo of 2 monstera leaves

However, it’s also important to know that this plant is considered a rainforest plant (or sub-tropical), of which their leaves are perfectly designed for absorbing solar energy.

A healthy monstera deliciosa prefers:

  • a lot of sunlight but will do well with medium levels of light
  • soil that is kept moist and is well draining
  • good air circulation around its foliage;

If you live in an area where the sun doesn’t shine very often (like Seattle or Canada), consider adding some grow lights indoors to your monstera’s environment. If that won’t work for you, consider adding some humidity to your plant by placing it on a pebble tray or misting it every other day (more if needed).

You should keep the plant in a well-lit area to receive sunlight for most of the day. They can also use artificial lighting, but make sure it reaches the leaves instead of just shining on them.

Conclusion for how much light does a monstera need

A monstera needs to be well-lit to grow properly, but not too much light as it can cause the leaves and stems of the plant to become dry. The ideal amount of sunlight is about 8-10 hours a day, either through natural lighting or artificial lighting.

Be aware that if your plant does not receive sufficient lighting, it will begin to lose its green color and grow leggy. To prevent this from happening, make sure you water your plants often so they don’t dry out and keep them at room temperature where they are comfortable.

how much light does a monstera need infographic

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