7 Signs That Your Monstera Needs More Light

Discover the key signs that your Monstera needs more light and shift it to a sunnier spot for healthier growth!

Monsteras undoubtedly make for beautiful living decor, and it’s disheartening to see them look less than healthy. If you’ve been taking good care of your plant but it still isn’t thriving, it might be a sign that it needs more sunlight. Watch for cues that suggest your Monstera is craving more light!

How Much Light Do Monsteras Need?

Light Important For Monsteras

Monstera naturally basks under a rainforest canopy—that’s its ideal light situation. They live happily in bright, indirect sunlight for 4-5 hours daily. Direct sun can scorch their leaves, while perpetual shade stunts growth and those coveted split leaves.

Light fuels Monstera’s ambition to be a leafy giant. Like all plants, Monstera uses light for photosynthesis, a scientific superpower that converts light energy into sugars for food.

This sugary fuel is quite important for growth, allowing Monstera to unfurl those signature split leaves. More light translates to more energy, not just for bigger leaves but also for maintaining those dramatic splits—a sign of a truly thriving Monstera.

Signs That Your Monstera Needs More Light

Sign #1: Lack Of Leaf Fenestrations

Lack Of Leaf Fenestrations

If your monstera doesn’t come up with the features it is known for, then there’s surely something wrong. Those gorgeous splits in mature Monstera leaves, called fenestrations, are more than just aesthetics. They act like windows, increasing the leaf surface area for efficient light capture and helping kickstart the photosynthesis process.

Science Behind The Problem:

When light is limited, a Monstera prioritizes basic leaf structure over developing these energy-intensive splits. So, if your Monstera is a few years old and still produces only solid, heart-shaped leaves, it might be straining to see enough light to develop those coveted splits.

Sign#2: Snail-Paced Leaf Growth

You might notice a drastic reduction in the frequency of new leaf emergence. Existing leaves might also remain smaller than expected for the variety. Keep an eye on your Monstera’s overall growth rate, especially during spring and summer, when they naturally experience a growth spurt.

Science Behind The Problem:

In low-light conditions, they do not have the energy to fuel growth processes like cell division and expansion.

Sign #3: Leaning Monstera

If you find your Monstera exhibiting unusual leaning, particularly away from its current light source, it’s a strong indication that it’s searching for more light.

Science Behind The Problem:

When light becomes scarce, a monstera resorts to a strategy called phototropism. Monstera leans towards a brighter spot in low-light conditions. By physically reorienting itself, the Monstera aims to maximize the light exposure on its leaves, increasing its ability to photosynthesize.

Sign #4: Leggy Growth

Leggy Growth

Leggy growth is easy to identify. When your monstera appears a bit sad with thin, long stems and leaves spaced far apart, giving them a “leggy” appearance, it’s a telltale sign that your plant is trying to increase its surface area to trap more light.

Science Behind The Problem:

Under ideal conditions, Monsteras are vining plants that climb upwards, using aerial roots to attach themselves to supports. In low light, their growth pattern changes. They prioritize stretching their stems outward in a desperate search for more sunlight, sacrificing their climbing behavior.

Sign #5: Soil Stays Soggy

In this condition, your Monstera’s potting mix stays consistently damp despite following a normal watering schedule; it could be a sign of inadequate light.

Science Behind The Problem:

Monsteras, like most aroids, prefer their soil to experience a dry cycle between waterings. In low-light conditions, their metabolic process slows down significantly, and the plant cuts down its transpiration needs. And this can manifest as your Monstera’s potting mix staying consistently damp.

Sign #6: Petite Foliage Development

You might notice new leaves emerging significantly smaller than usual for the variety. It indicates that the plant is not getting the proper light to produce big, beautiful leaves.

Science Behind The Problem:

When light is limited, a monstera prioritizes basic survival over producing large, energy-expensive leaves. This “miniaturization” is the plant’s way of conserving resources and ensuring survival in a low-light environment.

Step #7: Feeble Aerial Roots

You will encounter stunted, dull, or weak Monstera aerial root growth, hindering their climbing ability and potentially impacting their overall stability.

Science Behind The Problem:

Monsteras use specialized aerial roots to anchor themselves to supports like trees and climb upwards towards better light conditions. These aerial roots also help them absorb moisture from the air. But, in low light, monsteras ditch their idea of developing aerial roots as it requires a significant amount of energy to produce them.

Hot Tip: When providing additional light, consider offering a moss pole or trellis for your Monstera to climb on. This will not only encourage healthy aerial root growth but also promote a more natural climbing growth habit.

How Do You Suffice The Light Needs Of Your Monstera?

Find A Perfect Sun Sweet Spot

Now that you can identify the signs of a light-starved Monstera, let’s explore some solutions to keep your gorgeous monstera thriving:

1. DIY Hand Shadow Test

Hold your hand a foot or two above your monstera. If the light creates a faint or blurry shadow on the leaves, your monstera is likely demanding a brighter location. But keep an eye on light intensity, as too much sunlight might scorch the plant leaves.

2. Find A Perfect Sun Sweet Spot

Monsteras love bathing under bright, indirect light, mimicking their dappled rainforest floor habitat. By identifying their comfort, you can make them feel at home. Here are some ideal locations:

  • East-facing windows: These provide gentle morning sun, perfect for Monsteras, followed by indirect light for the rest of the day.
  • West-facing windows: While afternoon sun can be strong, consider filtering it with sheer curtains to create a more diffused light for your Monstera.
  • South-facing windows: These offer the most intense light, so be cautious. Place your Monstera several feet away from the window or filter the light heavily to prevent scorching.

3. Regular Monstera Rotation

To encourage even growth and prevent your Monstera from becoming lopsided, rotate it every 1-2 weeks. A quarter turn is sufficient, ensuring all sides of the plant receive equal light exposure. This simple practice promotes a bushier, fuller Monstera.

4. Employ An Artificial Light Source

Supplement natural light with a good-quality LED grow light. Preferring lights with a color temperature between 5,000 and 6,500 Kelvin will be a good idea because they successfully imitate natural sunlight. Position the light 12–18 inches above the plant and provide 12–14 hours of daily light.

5. Groom Your Monstera Timely

Snip away any dead, diseased, or yellowing leaves regularly. This improves aesthetics and allows more light to reach healthy foliage lower on the plant. Additionally, avoid overcrowding your Monstera with other plants that might compete for light.

6. Take Action According To The Season

Light availability naturally fluctuates throughout the year. In winter, moving your plant closer to a window or increasing the duration of an artificial light supplement suffices for the plant’s light needs. An indirect and bright light for 5-8 hours is more than enough to thrive into a healthy and happy monstera plant.

Do You Want To Learn Proven Tricks To Grow Big, Green, And Shiny Monstera? Here You Go!

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