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Before moving to my home, I lived in an apartment with poor lighting and had trouble positioning my plants.
I could not leave them in the bathroom because it had poor ventilation and was somehow cold, which I did not understand.
Most of my windows faced the north, reducing the light exposure to my plants. Eventually, I decided to invest in grow lights, which was a turning point for my plants.
However, I faced a few struggles understanding when to turn the lights on, distancing them from the plants, etc. My plants had to endure some foliage burn before I got the timing and positioning right.
I later moved to a warmer house with better lighting. But I still use grow lights for my most avid growers, especially the monstera, which thrives on good light exposure.
The considerations needed when picking a grow light for your monstera are colors of the light and its effect on room, how many monsteras you are growing under the grow light, sun exposure in the house and a schedule of when the lights go on.
So, if you’ve been having a hard time with growing it under light or are curious about how this would work, please read on for more:
What Are Grow Lights?
Let’s start with one of the most common questions regarding artificial lighting for plants. What are grow lights, and how do they benefit houseplants?
Light is essential to plant growth as it contains the photons which impart energy to plants. Plants then use this energy with water and nutrients to photosynthesize, i.e., make food.
That process gives the plants energy to grow taller, wider and maintain turgor pressure that allows the continuous uptake of water and nutrients.
In the absence of such light, photosynthesis takes a back seat, and the plant must thus find other ways to survive. It cannot do well in these conditions for too long and eventually starts dying.
Please note that the focus here is light rather than sunlight. Grow lights are artificial lights that replicate the sun’s natural light, imparting photons to plants.
They feature red, blue, and green wavelengths, depending on the type of light you choose. You can do without the green one, but the other two are essential in producing healthy leaves.
Thus, otherwise failing houseplants can regain the energy to grow in their presence. A plant grown under the proper artificial lighting will be just as healthy as one grown in the sun.
Can I Use a Grow Light for Monstera?
Okay, so grow lights are a fantastic invention that has helped many plant parents navigate poor lighting in their homes. But is it the right option for your monstera?
The monstera grows in tropical climates where it receives dappled or filtered light from the canopies. It does not need much light to grow and will do well with minimal direct sun exposure.
Instead, what the monstera needs is bright and indirect light. That’s the light you would get from an east-facing or south-facing window, ensuring the plant does not get hit by the direct sun.
Ideally, most people would have access to such light and grow monsteras with broad leaves showing fenestrations. But that is not always the case. Most homes have poor lighting, which results in:
- Monsteras exhibiting leggy growth,
- Plants with poor or no growth,
- The development of small leaves, and
- The lack of fenestrations on mature monstera leaves.
Without good lighting, the monstera as you know it becomes a shell of its former self and slowly loses its appeal. In worst-case scenarios, the plant dies. You can use a grow light for the monstera if:
- It shows any of the signs of light deprivation above,
- The plant does not have access to bright and indirect light for at least 10 hours a day,
- You want the plant to have healthy growth even during the colder months,
- You want to control how much light the plant gets and when.
I usually use a grow light for my monstera in the colder months when the sun exposure drops significantly in my home.
What Color Grow Light Is Best for Monstera?
The sun emits a wide array of light colors, also referred to as wavelengths (they mean the same thing because the wavelength affects the color).
These visible colors run from red down to violet, as seen in a rainbow. As such, red has the longest wavelength while violet has the shortest.
The common notion is that plants need such light to grow well, and people often aim for lights with all these colors. They are known for:
- Violet enhances color and fruiting and is thus a good option for veggies,
- Blue helps with photosynthesis by regulating the opening of stomata on the leaves,
- Green is barely useful but can be absorbed in small amounts for growth consistency,
- Yellow has a negligible effect on photosynthesis,
- Orange hardly affects the plant, and
- Red helps with photosynthesis. It is most effective when combined with blue.
See? Your monstera does not use most of the light wavelengths in the atmosphere and instead focuses on a few, notably blue and red.
While all the colors impact its growth in some way, you do not necessarily have to include all of them when choosing a grow light.
You can choose your preferred colors as follows:
- Full-spectrum lights that include all the colors: These will have a combined effect on the plant, or
- Red-blue lights that give the plant the energy it needs to start photosynthesis.
In the next section, I will examine how these would influence your choice.
You may also like: How to care for a monstera
Considerations Before Buying a Grow Light for Your Monstera
The variety in grow lights is impressive. I’m never short of options, and that can sometimes feel overwhelming.
So, I came up with a few factors to consider before getting a grow light. And the ones below primarily cater to people growing monsteras:
1) Consider the Color of the Light and Its Effect on Room Uses
Earlier, I mentioned that the monstera could grow in full-spectrum lights or red-blue wavelengths.
The latter are essential in the plant’s growth and can help it develop full and beautiful leaves. However, it will help if you consider where you will place the plant.
Full-spectrum lights emit white light because they contain colors akin to those from the sun. Thus, when you install these, they do not affect the use of the room.
You will barely notice their presence, making them a good choice for frequently used rooms.
Red-blue lights are not as friendly to versatility. These have a purplish color. That means that the section in which you use these lights will have a similar effect.
And if you’re using the room to study or bathe or some other use that needs warm to neutral light, this would not be desirable.
But if you use the room to entertain or for other uses that can work with such a hue, you can go with this effect.
2) Relate the Grow Light to the Number of Monsteras
I have two monsteras growing in my living room, so I cannot rely on one bulb. Instead, I use two bulbs and know I will need to upgrade the lights over time as the plants get bigger.
The more space your monstera occupies, the larger its reach will be, and a single bulb might not reach all the plant parts.
As such, you must consider:
- The number of plants in the room: Ideally, you should have at least one bulb servicing each small to moderate monstera plant. As the plant gets bigger, you may need two bulbs to meet its light needs. Or you can get a high-intensity light that can reach all the plants in the room.
- The size of the plants in the room: Mature plants will need more exposure, while young monsteras can do with a bulb per plant.
Your decision will thus come down to how many bulbs you should use and how intense they need to be to satisfy your monstera’s needs.
3) Think About the Sun Exposure in Your Home
During most of the months, I don’t need to use artificial lighting in my home. That’s because the sun exposure is often adequate.
But as the months grow colder, I start leaving the artificial light on for a few hours to make up for the difference. Here’s what you can do:
- Determine how much light exposure your monstera gets,
- Subtract this exposure from the recommended exposure. For example, if your plant gets 8 hours of light exposure, it only needs 2 extra hours from the grow light. But if it gets 2 hours of natural light exposure, you must leave the grow light on for 8 hours.
- Choose a grow light that coincides with the number of hours you need. In this case, you will need to consider the heat emission from the light. Incandescent lights work when your monstera needs extra light for about 0 to 5 hours daily. If you leave them on longer than this, they emit so much light that your monstera leaves suffer damage. LEDs are the best options as they have minimal heat emission, and you can trust them to remain cool even after being on for hours.
There are many grow lights in the market. Consider how much heat they emit, relating this to the number of hours of artificial lighting your monstera needs.
4) Boil it Down to Your Schedule
I often work from home, and when I am not in the house, I come back within 10 hours.
However, I once had an incident where I stayed out for 3 days on short notice. So, my plants sat under the grow light for about 72 hours, and the results were appalling.
If you don’t have someone who can turn the lights on and off on schedule, consider getting a light with a timer.
You will have less work on your hands and will know the plant is getting what it needs even in your absence. Remember to alter the timer as the seasons change because the lighting needs will also change.
Best Grow Light for Your Monstera
Once you factor in the above considerations, finding a grow light becomes an easy task. Below are my top recommendations:
1) Juhefa Full Spectrum Tri-Head 60W LED Floor Plant Light for Indoor Plants
Additionally, it features three lighting modes depending on the current light exposure in your home.
Setting it up is easy, and you can always use the timer function to control the light output to your monstera. Given its structure, you can use it to provide light to a monstera and other surrounding plants.
2) LBW Full Spectrum 150W LED Floor Plant Light for Indoor Plants
The stand is adjustable, allowing you to dictate the height and angle of the light to correspond with the stature of your monstera.
If you want to use it without the tripod, you can set it up to hang over your monstera for more coverage.
3) GHodec 4-Head Grow Light with Stand
Its color temperatures range between 5000 and 5500 kelvins, and it comes with a timer for easier control.
It features an 80W wattage and should last 30,000 hours, operating between 8 and 12 hours a day, which is ideal for the monstera.
While getting an LED light might feel like a huge investment, it works in your favor in the long run. These lights have low maintenance needs and often outlast their counterparts. Besides, they barely make a dent in your utility bills.
I don’t use grow lights for my monstera all year round because the light exposure changes with the seasons.
If you live in a region where natural light can suffice for your monstera, I advise you also alter the exposure. Otherwise, you might give the plant more light than necessary, which can burn its leaves.