Like any other plant, the monstera also needs light that it absorbs through its beautiful foliage to produce enough energy for growth. But can Monstera live in low light? What kind of light does Monstera need ? How to Help a Monstera Living in Low Light?
These are the question we will try to answer in this article!
Monstera deliciosa is a climbing plant that in nature, in its natural habitat, does everything in its power to get the light it needs, often climbing tall stems.
Let’s see together how to manage the exposure of your monstera to the light to always have it healthy.
Can Monstera Live In Low Light?
Yes, Monstera can adapt and live to low light and survive in low light conditions. However, surviving is not the same as thriving. Although Monstera is alive, it has very little growth or it become distorted and show symptoms of etiolation. Therefore, while your monstera plant will technically survive in low light conditions, it certainly won’t grow as if bright light is offered to it.
Also known as Adam’s rib, monstera is one of the hardiest houseplants, ideal for low-light homes. Originally from the lush jungle, it does not need to be in a bright light to survive. This plant can survive in low light, but in indirect sunlight it will grow faster, healthier and develop more large leaves with holes.
Monstera Deliciosa is one of the plants that do not need much light that has become most popular in interior decoration. This type of plant comes from the densest areas of tropical forests, so they grow surrounded by trees in low light and high humidity conditions.
And it is precisely this type of atmosphere that we must give our monstera.
If there is not enough light, monstera will remain almost motionless, stunting in growth and leaf color. When the light changes in the winter months, it may need to be moved to a brighter spot.
If necessary, rotate the pot periodically so that all the leaves are equally affected by the light.
The Monstera deliciosa likes a light exposure but without direct sun, as in its tropical forest of origin where it launches its long vines to attack the trees while being protected from the sun.
On the other hand, if it is placed in a place that is too dark , the leaves will be smaller and less cut.
Can Monstera live without sunlight?
Monstera can live without sunlight but requires to reproduce the characteristics of sunlight at home, using light bulbs like LEDs that have the colors blue, red and the so-called “far red” in their spectrum. Plants need light with wavelengths of approx. 350 – 750 nm for this. Sunlight fulfills this property best because it supplies the full color spectrum.
Monstera plants can only survive without light for short periods of time, and can go without light for 7 to 10 days before deteriorating past a point of no return.
Can Monstera live in darkness?
No plant including monstera can live without light, in complete darkness. Unfortunately, monstera like all other plants need light for their growth process since it allows them to process the soil nutrients they take from the soil and convert into food, so no plant is suitable for complete lack of light or darkness.
If you place your Monstera in a place that is too dark, it will behave in a way that is called negative phototropism: instead of orienting itself and growing in the direction of the light (like most plants), it will lead to the shade.
This does not mean that your Monstera has chosen to sacrifice itself, but rather that it remembers its origins. In the tropical jungle, darkness means that monstera is under a very tall tree, higher than it, and can climb it to reach the sunlight. On the other hand, since there are no large trees inside, special attention must be paid to the light.
The Monstera deliciosa is one of the plants that, I must confess, has surprised me the most. I thought it was an indoor plant that needs a lot of light, but the reality is that it can live quite well in slightly dark corners.
How Much Light does Monstera need?
- Full light (10,000 to 20,000 lux)
- Withstands shade (5,000 to 10,000 lux)
Does Monstera need direct or indirect sunlight?
Monstera does need direct sunlight especially between months of February to August. But if the direct sun hits the leaves before 11 o’clock in the afternoon or after 17 o’clock in the evening, it is not dangerous and even useful.
Monstera prefer a place where it can enjoy indirect, but certainly bright sunlight and is the same light that the monstera receives in nature, a light filtered by the thick foliage of the shrubs and by the leaves that often cover them.
If you are not sure what type of light you have in the house, in the chosen place you can try to check it in a very simple way .
Place your hand between the chosen spot and the nearest window . If you can feel the heat of the sun on your hand and the shadow you are casting is dark with defined edges, this area receives direct light.
If you can’t feel the heat and your shadow is more indefinite with blurry edges, you have found the perfect spot with indirect light for your plant.
You can get indirect light yourself by placing your monstera on a windowsill and filtering the light by applying curtains to the glass so that the plant is not damaged by the scorching direct light of the sun.
Older leaves seem to be able to handle this stress a little better , but any new or unfolding leaves can be devastated by direct light .
How many hours of light does Monstera need?
Another houseplant that needs little light is the monstera, also known as window leaf. There are over 25 species, the most common being Monstera deliciosa. It has a thick, woody trunk and develops long aerial roots, which it uses to climb around in the local jungle.
Generally it is necessary to consider where you live to understand how strong the light monstera plant receive. The general rule of thumb, however, is that Monstera needs bright sunlight for a minimum of six hours a day.
If you can give it extra hours of light while maintaining a normal light and dark alternation schedule, it certainly can’t hurt it.
What light location is best for Monstera?
It is best to keep the Monstera in a bright location. It is important that the light is bright and indirect. The Monstera does not tolerate blazing sun at all and you should definitely protect it from it.
A location directly at the south window is therefore taboo. During the winter months, when there is little light anyway, the Monstera can also get some winter sun.
As a location in the house, a bright and warm location is most likely to be considered. Although the Monstera itself thrives in the shade, it doesn’t do as well here and doesn’t develop its full foliage either.
In the summer, the Monstera is welcome to move to the balcony or terrace for a few months but protect it from the blazing midday sun.
The light must be excellent to keep the leaves well developed and well cut. Young potted monstera does not tolerate direct sun , while adult monstera in humid climates only need shade in summer.
Poorly lit, monsteras produce very long petioles and small, sparsely cut leaves.
Not far from a window in a bedroom or kitchen to let it take in the light, without direct sunlight , or a little more in the shade, against a wall or a screen, in your living room.
Prefers bright, but diffused light and partial shade. The best place for a plant pot is on a stand near the east or west windows.
In the southern directions, the monstera should be set aside from the window deep into the room or shaded, especially at noon.
The leaves can get burned, become pale, covered with yellow spots and lose their attractiveness. North windows may not have enough natural light.
You will notice this from the leaves they will become smaller and without the openwork cuts that are so characteristic of Monstera.
Move the flower to a more lighted place or purchase a phytolamp or a fluorescent lamp to organize additional lighting for the creeper.
How to Help a Monstera Living in Low Light?
Use Artificial Light
Insufficient natural lighting can be supplemented with an artificial light source. The important wavelengths for photosynthesis correspond to blue and red. Red light (660 nm) and far-red light (735 nm) influence stem elongation. Blue light (435 nm) is responsible for leaf development.
The use of incandescent bulbs and projectors is not advisable: energy-consuming, they produce a lot of heat. When placed too close to monstera plants, they can scorch the foliage and quickly dry out the soil. They are best used as accent lighting to create aesthetic effects.
Fluorescent tubes offer more advantages: they give off little heat, produce more light per watt and can be placed very close to the monstera plants (30 to 45 cm). Tubes of the cool white and day light type emit a lot of blue but little red.
Those of the warm white type ( warm white) scatter a lot of red but little blue. One can try to cover the complete spectrum by using in double fixtures a neon of each type.
Tubes designed specifically for plants are easy to use and provide the spectrum needed for growth, but they are expensive. The amount of light emitted by neon lights will gradually decrease over time and it is recommended that they be replaced annually.
However, artificial lighting (fluorescent tubes or better, mercury or sodium lamps) makes it possible to install plants in the darkest places. The ideal exposure for indoor plants is near an east-facing window.
Choose proper location
No plant can live without light. Light is essential for plants which synthesize their nutrients under the effect of the sun’s rays. Place your monstera in the brightest areas of the house, usually near windows.
North-facing windows never receive direct sunlight, but the only light they do receive is the bluish one diffused from the sky.
North-facing windows therefore offer a low light regime , particularly when the sun is low in the sky and the days are short.
Most houseplants don’t thrive near a north-facing window; only the aspidistra and a few others manage to do it.
If you only have a north-facing window available, consider using artificial light instead of relying only on natural light.
On the ceiling of many houses there are skylights from which the blue light of the sky penetrates all day. Plants that like low light grow particularly well in diffused light from these skylights, but they also penetrate a beam of direct, intense sunlight whose position within the room changes from morning to evening.
If your plant is in a spot lit by such a beam, it may need to be moved for a couple of hours a day.
Sunlight doesn’t always have to be a big concern for plant lovers. But if the question is can monstera live in low light, the answer is yes.
The monstera can very well survive in low light conditions , without any kind of problem that could seriously harm its health. Most plants need a certain amount of light and in this article we have shown you that monstera deliciosa can live in low light but will not thrive and will not develop as expected.
In this case, you may have smaller leaves , with less mottling , or with a less evident variegation , in the case of a plant with variegated leaves.