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Monstera deliciosa can grow very well under grow lights, but there are a lot of factors to consider.
This article is specifically about Monstera deliciosa, because they can take a lot more light than most other aroids, but can also grow in lower light conditions. Other aroids typically need less light.
There’s a huge range of grow lights that will work for Monstera, depending on whether you just want to keep your Monstera alive over winter, or you want to grow a massive, fenestrated monster in a room with no natural light.
We’ll cover it all in this article!
First, we’ll do a tl/dr:
- Monstera like a lot of light. More than most other houseplants other than succulents
- Look for the PAR or PPFD when buying grow lights. Lumens don’t matter because plants don’t have eyes
- Long hours of weaker light are better than shorter hours of stronger light
- 150-350 umol/m2/s is generally agreed to be a good PAR but you’ll need to experiment with how far away your Monstera is from the light
What’s the ideal grow light setup for Monstera deliciosa?
To grow a big, beautiful Monstera under grow lights, you want to suspend a strong grow light (something like the Mars Hydro ts3000) about four feet above the plant, and leave it on for about 16 hours per day.
That’s ideal for the plant but obviously isn’t the most practical or beautiful solution.
Monstera like a lot of light – the most important factor is the overall volume of light (or daily light integral), which is difficult (and pricy) to both provide and measure.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of research done into lighting and aroids, so there’s not a lot of concrete information to look at with regard to the exact DLI (daily light integral) required.
Houseplant experts like Jeff Scheng are pretty sure that more powerful lights farther away and kept on for longer work better than weak light closer to the plant.
In the video I linked he says that most Monstera in natural light don’t get enough light, but Monstera under grow lights get too much light. The video is incredibly helpful and his plants are stunning.
Do Monstera deliciosa need grow lights?
Monstera deliciosa don’t necessarily need grow lights, but they can benefit from them, especially in winter when there are shorter hours of not very bright light.
If you want your Monstera to produce huge, fenestrated leaves, then grow lights are a great way to supplement the light you already have.
Using grow lights to increase the light has a lot of benefits – not only does it increase the speed of growth, but it can reduce the chances of the plant getting pests and root rot.
There are, however, issues with providing grow lights specifically for Monstera, the biggest being the sheer size of the plant.
Grow lights are typically added to shelving and Ikea plant cabinets, and you’d struggle to set either of those up for large Monstera.
The first thing we want to establish, especially if you’re on a budget, is how much of your Monstera’s light requirements are going to come from grow lights:
Using grow lights for 100% of your Monstera’s light requirements
It’s definitely possible to provide 100% of your Monstera’s light requirements using grow lights, but there are a couple of issues:
- You’ll struggle to get an aesthetically pleasing solution
- You’ll need a professional grow light, which will be pricy
On the plus side, you should be able to use one (or two, depending on the size of your collection) grow lights to provide plenty of light for all your plants. If you cram all your plants into one space in winter, you might be able to convince them it’s still the growing season.
If you’re just looking to extend daylight hours in winter for your Monstera, but it does get plenty of natural light, then you might be able to get away with some cheap Amazon grow lights, or a grow bulb in a lamp.
Many houseplant people move bigger plants like Monstera close to existing grow light setups. It won’t provide enough light for any substantial growth, but it’ll be plenty to keep the plant ticking over until spring.
You can also double up with grow lights – put it near shelf lights but add a gooseneck light so it’s being lit from both sides.
What to consider when choosing a grow light for Monstera deliciosa
How many plants is it for?
If all your plants are in one room and you have, say 100 plants, I’d recommend splurging on a BIG professional grow light that you’d suspend from the ceiling. Put your Monstera directly underneath it, and use the Monstera leaves to shade out the other plants.
It can be a pricy initial investment, but it’s a great way of lighting dozens of plants without having to run several grow lights.
If you’re just looking to provide one Monstera with grow lights, then you could get away with a cheaper light, but it would need to be closer to the plant.
What measurement of light should we look for?
We need to look for PAR or PPFD (the amount of PAR hitting the plant) because that’s what has an impact on plant growth. PAR is the type of light, PPFD is how much light there is.
PAR is a useful measurement, but it measures light intensity, not volume.
It can be difficult to explain light volume, but think of the light from a grow light as being water from a hose: If you had two hoses, a thick one and a thin one, emitting water at the same pressure, the thick one would pump out more water. A grow light that provides higher PPFD is like a thicker hose.
When it comes to plants and light, we need more volume, not necessarily intensity.
Lumens and lux are a measure of visible light to humans. It is of no use to plants because they can't see.
When it comes to Monstera, no one can really agree on the perfect PAR for them.
There’s little scientific research done into aroids, so there’s only people’s experience to go on. The vast natural variations between Monstera deliciosa specimens doesn’t help!
By the way, PAR meters are expensive – the cheapest one I could find was £89. There are light metres, but they measure lux or lumens, which only measure how well the lights light up a room, not how well they’ll help plants grow.
If you want to splurge on fancy lights and a fancy PAR metre, most houseplant experts recommend that the lights emit 150-350 umol/m2/s so the Monstera receives PPFD (50-100 umol/ft2/s).
I don’t know why we measure umol (the measurement for PAR) using metres and PPFD using feet.
Cheap grow lights won’t give you a PAR measurement. It doesn’t mean they’re useless but don’t rely on them for 100% of your plant’s light needs.
Does colour temperature matter?
Houseplant grow lights are usually on the cooler side, so between 5000-7000k. Don’t get too caught up on kelvins, for the same reasons you shouldn’t get too caught up on the bulb colour, which I’ll explain below.
What colour should Monstera grow lights be?
There are a lot of opinions about using full spectrum vs. blue or red grow lights.
I do recommend using full-spectrum grow lights, but mainly because in my experience, the purple ones are headache-inducing. They also don’t light your plants well from an aesthetic perspective.
However, in terms of plant growth, we don’t know what Monstera prefer when it comes to the colour of grow lights. There isn’t much research done into the amount of red vs blue light being filtered out by the rainforest canopy.
Almost all the research done into to impact of the various spectra on plant growth is done on crops.
What we do know is that blue and red diodes are cheaper than white ones, which is why grow light companies like to use them.
Will Monstera deliciosa grow under normal LED lights?
A Monstera deliciosa is unlikely to grow if its only light source is a regular LED bulb.
However, you can use normal lamps to supplement growth. For example, a Monstera kept in a window might appreciate a few hours of artificial light from a normal bulb. It would need to be kept on for hours and be pretty close (like, practically touching it) to have any effect at all, but it would work.
If you want to add lights but don't want to pay the markup for grow lights, you can search for warehouse lights. They're very bright and much stronger than normal LED bulbs, but because they don't have any information about PAR and aren't marketed as grow lights, they're cheaper.
They won’t be as efficient as grow lights, but will be more efficient than regular LED bulbs.
There are some linked at the bottom.
Options for grow light setups for Monstera deliciosa
The hardest thing about buying grow lights for Monstera is working out how to balance efficiency with aesthetics (and budget).
Here are your options:
Suspend grow lights from the ceiling
The most effective way of setting up Monstera grow lights is by suspending a professional grow light from the ceiling. Whilst this type of light tends to be the most expensive, it’s the most efficient and can cover a lot of plants.
The stronger the light, the further away from the plants it can be, and the more plants it’ll cover.
This is ideal for people with dedicated plant rooms, or people that don’t really care about aesthetics.
It’s also a great option for people who keep their plants outside in summer but need to cram them into a small area in winter.
If you can’t suspend them from the ceiling, there are options like using clothing rails. This was my old setup:
You could definitely stick a Monstera next to that and have it grow well.
Use shelving lights
Shelving lights are a really popular option because they tend to be the most aesthetically pleasing. They’re also not great for Monstera because Monstera don’t usually fit on shelves.
If you want to set up shelves with lighting for your plants, then you can just put your Monstera close to them. It won’t be as effective as having a light above them, but a lot of people prefer the shelf look over massive bright light in the middle of a room.
This won’t provide 100% of a Monstera’s light, but if it’s getting natural lighting as well, it should be plenty to grow a big plant.
Gooseneck lights aren’t particularly strong. In fact, any grow light with a USB connection isn’t going to be very strong. However, they provide ample light to keep Monstera alive. They won’t provide enough to grow huge leaves or anything, but they’re a good budget-friendly option for supplemental lighting in winter. They’re also super easy to just clip to a shelf.
A normal lamp
Grow bulbs in regular lamps are a great option if you just need grow lights for a single Monstera. Ideally, you’d want the light to be above the plant (above and to the side – you want as much of the plant as possible to get light).
Good grow bulbs are usually around 150umols with a PPFD of about 27, which is enough to supplement your Monstera’s light, but not enough to provide 100% of its light if you want to grow it huge.
How far away should grow lights be from Monstera deliciosa?
It depends on your grow light. The cheaper it is, the closer it’ll need to be to your plant.
Ideally, you want a powerful grow light that’s quite far away, because that’s the best way to maximise the volume of light to the plant without risking burning it.
But if you’ve just got a grow bulb, you’ll need to keep the light about a foot away from your plant.
Due, I’m afraid to the variation within Monstera plants and lack of research, you’ll need to observe your Monstera
How long should you run grow lights for Monstera deliciosa?
Again, we need to consider light volume. And again, the most expensive option is the most effective (isn’t that always the way?).
Ideally, you want to be running a strong grow light about three feet away from your Monstera for about 16 hours a day.
I’m not paying for that. I prefer to run my mid-range grow light for a MAXIMUM of eight hours a day. Usually it’s four.
What I like to do is set my grow lights up opposite a window. I run my lights from, say, 6am till 10am, and then put them on at 6pm-10pm. That’s in the dead of winter. I’ll use natural light as much as I can because it’s FREE.
What grow lights do I recommend for Monstera?
There are three, which cover a wide range of budgets:
As for grow bulbs, I have some linked on my resources page.
The Mars Hydro is a really powerful option. If you like the idea of having a suspended grow light but that’s out of your budget, they do cheaper, less powerful options that will work really well but need to be closer to your plant. Your Monstera will grow just as well but you won’t be able to cram as many plants underneath it.
The shelf lights aren’t actually marketed as grow lights, but they work really well and are well-priced (you get 6 in a pack).
The gooseneck ones are…fine. You won’t get exceptional growth but they’re a cheap and cheerful way to supplement your lighting.
I hope this article was helpful. I appreciate that it’s a confusing topic, not helped by the fact the research into it comes primarily from aroid enthusiasts and therefore varies a TONNE due to differing conditions.
If you have any questions, leave me a comment below, or DM me on Instagram.
Before you go, you might find these articles interesting:
- The Ultimate Guide to Monstera Deliciosa – everything you need to know covered in one article (albeit briefly)
- How to Care for Monstera Deliciosa
- What to Do With Monstera Aerial Roots
- How to Propagate Monstera Deliciosa