Do Monstera Plants Need Sunlight? 5 Essential Tips

When it comes to caring for Monstera plants, one of the most common questions is whether they need sunlight. Understanding the light requirements of your Monstera is crucial for its growth and overall health.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the sunlight needs of Monstera plants and provide you with five essential tips to ensure your plant thrives in its indoor environment.

So, let’s dive in and discover how much sunlight your Monstera really needs!

Monstera in the Wild

To understand the sunlight needs of Monstera deliciosa, commonly known as the Swiss cheese plant, it’s helpful to consider its natural habitat and growth patterns in the wild.

These tropical plants are native to southern Mexico and Guatemala. In their natural environment, Monstera seedlings typically start their journey on the forest floor, searching for light.

Once they find a tree, they begin to climb using their aerial roots, in pursuit of brighter conditions.

Monstera deliciosa plants can adapt to a range of light conditions in the wild, from complete shade to dappled light and even sunny areas.

This flexibility demonstrates their ability to tolerate a variety of light intensities. Understanding their natural habitat gives us valuable insights into their light requirements in indoor settings.

Light Needs for Monstera Plants

Determining the light needs of your Monstera can be a bit challenging, as every indoor environment is different.

However, with the right knowledge and observation, you can provide your plant with the optimal light conditions for healthy growth.

Let’s explore some important factors to consider:

1. Monstera Deliciosa Outdoors

It’s essential to note that the light intensity indoors is significantly lower than that outdoors.

While Monstera deliciosa plants can tolerate full sun exposure in warm climates like California and Mexico, it’s important to remember that the light intensity indoors is dramatically reduced.

This means that it’s challenging to provide your Monstera with too much light indoors.

However, if you do decide to place your Monstera outdoors, especially in direct sunlight, it’s crucial to acclimate the plant gradually to prevent sunburn.

Start by placing the plant in a shaded area for a few days, then gradually increase its exposure to direct sunlight over time.

2. Light Requirements for Monstera Deliciosa Indoors

Indoor light conditions vary throughout the day and with changing seasons. To ensure optimal growth, it’s recommended to provide your Monstera deliciosa with a minimum of 100 foot candles (FC) of light.

However, for better growth, aim for at least 200-300 FC or even up to 2,000 FC indoors.

To accurately measure the light intensity in your home, consider investing in an inexpensive light meter. This tool allows you to determine the best spot for your Monstera by measuring the light levels in different areas.

One popular and affordable option is the Dr. Meter light meter, available on Amazon.

3. Window Exposures for Monstera

Different window exposures provide varying light intensities, depending on their size, obstructions, and distance from the plant.

Let’s explore the light conditions associated with each window exposure:

North-Facing Window

North-facing windows, which receive the least amount of light in the northern hemisphere, can still provide enough light for your Monstera deliciosa if they are unobstructed and of adequate size.

However, it’s recommended to measure the light intensity using a light meter to ensure your plant is receiving sufficient light.

South-Facing Window

Unobstructed south-facing windows offer the most light indoors and typically provide plenty of direct sunlight. Your Monstera can handle this level of light, but it’s important to monitor it for any signs of sunburn.

If necessary, you can use sheer curtains or partially closed blinds to diffuse the direct sunlight.

East-Facing Window

East-facing windows provide morning sun exposure, which is generally gentler than afternoon sun.

Placing your Monstera deliciosa near a large wall of east-facing windows can provide it with the ideal light exposure for healthy growth.

West-Facing Window

West-facing windows receive mid to late afternoon direct sun indoors. If your Monstera is placed near an unobstructed west-facing window, it will benefit from the bright light conditions.

However, it’s important to monitor for any signs of sunburn and adjust the exposure if necessary.

4. Signs of Insufficient Light

If your Monstera is not receiving enough light, it may exhibit certain signs that indicate inadequate light conditions. Here are a few indicators to watch out for:

Slow Growth or No Growth

If your Monstera has been stagnant or growing at a very slow pace for several months, it’s a sign that it may not be receiving enough light.

This is particularly common during winter months when natural light is limited. To remedy this, consider moving your plant to a sunnier window, especially during this period.

Stretched Out Growth

Weak, leggy growth is another sign of insufficient light. If you notice that the petioles (leaf stems) on your Monstera are longer than usual, and the leaves are spaced farther apart on the vine, it indicates that your plant is growing in lower light conditions.

If desired, you can move your Monstera to a brighter location or supplement its light with artificial grow lights.

Small Leaves

If your Monstera’s leaves are smaller than expected, and it takes longer for them to develop fenestrations (natural leaf holes), it suggests that your plant is not receiving enough sunlight indoors.

5. Signs of Excessive Light

While it’s difficult to overdo the amount of light for a Monstera plant indoors, it’s still possible to cause sunburn if the plant hasn’t been acclimated properly.

Here are two scenarios where you can easily burn your Monstera:

Moving Your Monstera Outside

If you suddenly move your Monstera from an indoor environment to direct sunlight outdoors without acclimating it gradually, it can result in sunburn.

To prevent this, place the plant in full shade for a few days before gradually exposing it to increasing amounts of direct sunlight over several days.

Bringing Your Monstera Home

When you bring home a Monstera plant from a store where it has been kept in low light conditions for an extended period, placing it directly in front of a sunny window can cause sunburn.

To avoid this, acclimate the plant slowly by gradually increasing its exposure to direct sunlight over time.

Remember, every indoor lighting condition is unique, and it’s essential to observe and cater to your Monstera’s specific needs.


Understanding the sunlight needs of your Monstera plants is crucial for their growth and overall well-being.

By considering their natural habitat and following the recommended light intensity guidelines, you can provide your Monstera deliciosa with the optimal conditions for healthy growth.

Remember to monitor your plant for any signs of insufficient or excessive light and make adjustments as needed. With the right balance of sunlight, your Monstera will flourish and bring joy to your indoor space.

Happy growing!


Additional Information: Monstera plants can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, but they thrive best in bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves, while too little light can result in slow growth and leggy stems.

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