Monsteras have gained popularity in the houseplant community, touted as beginner-friendly plants. However, once you bring one home, you might realize that keeping it happy requires a bit more effort than anticipated. One key factor in ensuring your monstera’s healthy growth is providing it with the right amount of sunlight. If you’re unsure about how much sunlight your monstera needs, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore the native habitat of monstera plants and the different types of sunlight they thrive in, both indoors and outdoors. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey!
Understanding Monstera’s Native Habitat
To truly grasp the best lighting conditions for your monstera, it’s essential to consider its native environment. By understanding how much sunlight these plants receive in nature, as well as their water requirements and preferred climate, we can gain valuable insights into their sunlight needs.
The monstera genus comprises over 50 species, with Monstera Deliciousa, also known as the delicious monster, being the most well-known. While different species may originate from slightly diverse areas, monstera plants are predominantly concentrated in Central and South America. They thrive in tropical rainforests where temperatures are high and humidity remains above 70% throughout the year.
In these lush forests, you can find monstera vines sprawling along the ground in nutrient-rich areas. Additionally, they often climb nearby trees using their aerial roots for support, acting as hemi-epiphytes. This climbing nature allows monstera plants to access higher light levels. However, they still receive a full day of dappled sunlight as the tree canopies above shade them.
Decoding Indoor Light Levels
When it comes to indoor cultivation, replicating the sunlight conditions found in monstera’s native habitats can be challenging. However, certain descriptors are typically used to gauge the lighting needs of houseplants, helping us understand their requirements.
The distance between the light source and your plant plays a significant role in determining the amount of light it receives. If you want a precise measurement of the light levels in your home, you can invest in a light meter or use a smartphone app. Alternatively, a simple trick involves placing a piece of white paper under your hand and observing the resulting shadow. The stronger the shadow, the brighter the light levels.
Best Light for Indoor Monsteras
Indoor monstera plants thrive in bright indirect light, which closely resembles the dappled sunlight they receive in their natural habitat. Providing your monstera with a full day of bright light, away from direct sun exposure, promotes vigorous growth and encourages the development of new leaves.
Some monstera species can tolerate medium light levels in the higher foot-candle range, albeit with slower growth. In such cases, you’ll need to adjust your watering routine, as these areas have reduced water absorption and evaporation.
In regions with less intense sunlight, you can give your monstera an hour or two of direct sunlight in the mornings. Placing your plant in front of an east-facing window can provide the necessary boost to compensate for weaker light during other times of the day. Remember, the position and intensity of sunlight change with the seasons. During winter, when sunlight intensity naturally decreases, your monstera can handle a bit more direct sun to supplement the lower light levels.
Signs Your Monstera Needs More Light
Insufficient light can cause your monstera to struggle and exhibit signs of distress. One common issue is stretching, where stems become leggy, and leaves diminish in size as the plant reaches for the nearest light source. This uneven growth can even cause pots to tip over if the monstera is large enough.
Another indicator of low light is monstera plants not developing the signature holes and splits on their leaves. Healthy, well-lit monsteras naturally produce leaves with intriguing patterns, while those lacking sufficient light will have smaller, unremarkable leaves without any holes or splits. Forgetting to rotate your pots can also lead to this phenomenon, with leaves nearest to the light source displaying splits while the others remain intact.
In severe cases, your monstera may become discolored, with leaves turning yellow and wilting. Moist soil, combined with low evaporation levels, can also lead to root rot and further wilting. If moving your monstera to a brighter area is not possible, supplementing with artificial grow lights becomes crucial to prevent further growth problems.
Signs Your Monstera Needs Less Light
On the opposite end of the spectrum, too much sunlight can harm your monstera plants. These shade-loving plants do not tolerate intense direct sun exposure well. Symptoms of excessive sunlight can manifest in just a couple of hours and will not reverse once they appear.
Similar to humans, monstera leaves can experience a form of sunburn when exposed to intense sunlight. Leaves may lose their color, transitioning from green to yellow before turning brown and becoming crispy. Curling inward and the stems moving away from the light source are additional indicators of excessive light exposure.
If you notice these signs, promptly relocate your plant to a bright area away from direct sunlight. Pruning heavily damaged leaves will allow space for healthy new growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much light does a monstera plant need?
- A: Monstera plants thrive in bright indirect light, resembling the dappled sunlight they receive in their native environment.
Q: Can monstera plants tolerate lower light levels?
- A: While some species can tolerate medium light levels, they won’t grow as quickly. Adjust watering accordingly in these areas.
Q: What are the signs that my monstera needs more light?
- A: Stretching, small leaves without holes or splits, and yellowing or wilting leaves are indicators that your monstera requires more light.
Q: Can monstera plants handle direct sunlight?
- A: Monstera plants should be protected from intense direct sunlight as it can cause sunburn-like damage.
Remember, understanding and providing the right amount of sunlight for your monstera plant is crucial for its health and thriving growth. By replicating the dappled sunlight it would receive in its native habitat, you can enjoy the beauty of this remarkable houseplant. For more plant care tips and to explore a wide range of monstera varieties, visit the Ames Farm Center. Happy gardening!