While looking for information about caring for Monstera deliciosa, I've sometimes read that they prefer shade. It seems this is the case for other plants as well, but I find it puzzling and I haven't found any explanation for it. Why would a plant prefer to receive less light? (NB: I'm not talking about how Monstera deliciosa finds a tree when young by growing away from light, but rather in general for adult plants.)

My theory is that the culprit is actually heat, but then why just not say so? Has anyone tried to grow a shade-loving plant under intense light?

I want my Monstera to grow well, is a shady spot really better than under a general-purpose LED light?

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because is not about Gardening & Landscaping as described in our help center. I would recommend migration to Biology.
    – J. Musser
    Sep 6, 2017 at 21:50
  • 1
    @J.Musser certainly not wrong at Biology, but for me, it falls under "general plant care". I read it as "my plant label says low light, but what exactly is the problem - heat or UV rays?".
    – Stephie
    Sep 6, 2017 at 21:58
  • 1
    @Stephie then the title and question should be updated. It sounds like it's asking for the mechanics of why a plant would prefer a lower light level (off topic).
    – J. Musser
    Sep 6, 2017 at 22:00
  • 2
    oh heck! This is an excellent question!! This is stuff people need to know! @J.Musser This is part of the foundation to being a gardener! Plants that evolved to fill a shady niche have thinner epidermis, much more sensitivity to light and most have large leaves.
    – stormy
    Sep 6, 2017 at 22:13
  • 2
    @stormy. It is an excellent question. And it is something people should know. You must keep in mind that this site has a specific topic range, and that 'people should know this' is not valid as an excuse. Go by the guidelines already laid for this site, and let other sites take on topics we don't cover here. This site isn't called 'all things plants'.
    – J. Musser
    Sep 6, 2017 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


To understand the needs of any house plant, you need to take a closer look at its natural habitat. In our homes, we try to mimic those conditions as well as we can and breeders have been working hard at developing cultivars of very sensitive plants that will thrive under less-than-ideal conditions, aka. your living room. Just see the many orchids that are cheap and robust enough to be sold even in grocery stores and later bloom happily on some windowsill.

One particular group of house plants is at home in the shade of larger growth, e.g. on forest floors. If we place these in direct sunlight (meaning well, of course) they simply get "sunburned" and suffer. They lack the biological mechanisms to cope with the amount of solar energy that hits them. The culprit is typically not the heat, but the UV light. As I said: sunburn.

So for your forest-dwellers, just put them out of direct sunlight and they should be fine.

  • I hadn't considered UV light... however if this really is the culprit, it means it should be okay to flood with light that contains no/little UV.
    – comeauch
    Sep 7, 2017 at 0:08
  • I can't say for sure which part of the spectrum is most problematic. Remember that all light is a source of energy and thus can't be excluded as potentially damaging for a shade-loving plant if available in excess. But of course some light is still necessary for the plant to thrive.
    – Stephie
    Sep 7, 2017 at 4:41
  • Shade lovers tend to have stacked thylakoid membranes: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thylakoid This makes them more efficient light gatherers, but more prone to sun burn. Feb 21, 2021 at 16:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.