Light Requirements for A Poinsettia

Giving your poinsettia the proper amount of sunlight every day will allow it to flourish and stay gorgeous. It can become sunburned and grow leggy, unattractive growth if it is exposed to excessive or insufficient light, or both. What amount of light does a poinsettia need to flourish?

Poinsettias need at least six hours of indirect, bright sunshine per day in order to flourish. Although exposure to the east is preferable but indirect light coming from windows facing west or south is sufficient. Lack of light causes the growth of leggy plants and defoliation, while scorched foliage is a sign of excessive light.

Continue reading to find out more about the requirements for light in poinsettias. I’ll also discuss some of the most important signs that your poinsettia may be receiving too much or little light.

Do Poinsettias Need a Lot of Light?

Poinsettias are fairly hardy plants that can withstand different levels of light. They do however, enjoy lots of sunlight. I suggest giving your plants at least 6 (preferably 8-10 hours) (preferably between 8 and 10 hours) of bright and indirect light.

A lot of light can help your poinsettias achieve maximum growth. It is essential to promote photosynthesis and the development of healthy green leaves. However it is recommended to keep your plants from being exposed to direct sunlight, particularly in summer.

It is able to withstand up to two minutes of sunlight direct. Exposed to too much direct , hot sunlight is not just going to scorch the leaves, but also cause them to turn brown. The leaves will also turn brown and bleached around the edges.

If that’s not bad enough, excessive heat can cause the brightly colored bracts to lose color.

What Kind Of Light Does A Poinsettia Need?

Although poinsettias are tolerant of different lighting conditions, they thrive best in indirect, bright sunlight. They can be thriving in light that isn’t enough however they will not achieve the highest growth under the conditions. The leaves of the plant will change to yellow or pale because of chlorosis.

The poinsettia’s blooms can be exposed to direct sunlight for only a short period of time. The leaves will get burned then crisp up and dry up if exposed to excessive exposure to direct sunlight. It is recommended to place your poinsettia in a brightly lit area at home, but be mindful of the brightness in your mind.

poinsettia with fern in background

The Direction of the Sun

The placement of the poinsettia depends on the location where sunlight falls within the space. You’ll be able to enjoy the gentle morning light that comes from the east-facing windows or doors. However, windows don’t receive much sun during the afternoon.

In the summer and spring seasons, the light coming from windows facing north is the most dim. This means it’s not the best choice to your poinsettia’s direction.

Western windows are the most severe in the afternoon, when the sun is shining the most intensely. This means that the leaves be the most affected by the direct sun. However, the poinsettia is tolerant of some shaded light.

Therefore, it is recommended to put it in a protected location near a west-facing window. It will be able to enjoy bright sunlight and will not be stung with direct sunlight. But can it really get more than six hours of light in this direction?

Most likely Not. This is where exposure to southern sun is a factor.

A south-facing window will provide the most stable bright light. Simply place your plant a few yards away from the window facing south to ensure that it receives indirect sunlight. In this way your poinsettia can enjoy all day long of bright, evenly shining light all day long.

Exposure to Sun

I want to reiterate that poinsettias are extremely picky about direct sunlight exposure. They are tolerant of gentle morning sun. However, once the sun’s scorching afternoon arrives your plant will need dim light.

If you place your poinsettia next to an east-facing or west-facing window and it doesn’t get the 6plus hours of light it requires during the daytime. In addition the light hours decrease dramatically as winter draws near.

If you’re not worried about the effort, you could shift it around during the course of your day. Put the unit in an east-facing window in the early morning time. In the afternoon, you can shift it to a west-facing window in which it will receive the proper dose throughout the entire day.

But, you should use curtains or sheers that are light to block or diffuse the harsh sunlight that can enter windows facing west.

After all is completed the best place to put your poinsettia is slightly away from a window facing south will be ideal. It will guarantee that the plant gets plenty of bright and indirect sunshine at the same time. Make sure to drape your plants with drapery.

The positive side is that poinsettias aren’t afraid of artificial light. Choose a couple of LED light bulbs and extend the amount of light you can get to 12 hours or more per day.

The Intensity of Light

The amount of light absorbed by your poinsettia is evidently the greatest during the time of growth. This is between the beginning of spring and the end of the summer. The poinsettias require plenty of intense, bright light to photosynthesise, create energy and increase their reserves of food.

When the autumn season begins in November, the intensity of the light decreases dramatically. It stays low through during the cold winter months. In a coincidental way, this is the time when your poinsettia plants go into dormancy, and will show very little or no growth.

Poinsettias require around 14 hours of daily total darkness between the months of November and Dec. They will require approximately 8 hours in order to grow bracts that are brightly colored. They will not bloom in the absence of darkness.

Do Poinsettias Like Sun or Shade?

Short answer: sun is partial.

Although poinsettias are tolerant of some shade, they’ll thrive the best in bright, sunny weather. The main problem is whether they prefer direct or indirect sunlight.

If you’re new to the world perhaps you’re wondering what indirect or direct light actually is? The answer is easy: poinsettia loves the bright, indirect sun. What’s the difference?

The plant expert will help make things easy. If your poinsettia is receiving sunlight that is not filtered on its leaves, that’s direct sunlight. It’s not a good idea the plant exposed to too much sun.

The most reliable way to determine is to conduct a hand shadow test. If you see clearly defined, transparent hand shadow, the area is likely to receive direct sunlight.

If your poinsettia’s sat in a spot where the sunlight doesn’t reach foliage, you’re receiving indirect light. The shadow of the hand here is blurry and difficult to discern. However, you can tell that it’s a hand shadow, however.

Light reflected off the floor, reflecting off mirrors, and bounced off the walls are indirect light. The poinsettia is sure to be delighted in a space that receives the kind of lighting. It’s called shaded – partially shade, partly sun.

Where Should You Place a Poinsettia?

It is best to put your poinsettias in the most bright spot of your home. But, the light that hits the leaves must be indirect, which means diffused light, filtering light or both.

The table below provides tips to consider when choosing the best location. It is possible to measure the intensity of light using the aid of a light meter. (Check the cost at Amazon this page)

It is clear that putting your ornaments three to four feet away from an east-facing south-facing or west-facing window is ideal. (Source: University of Missouri)

Signs That Your Poinsettia Isn’t Getting Enough Light

[1] Stunted Growth and Small Leaves

It is not a good idea for your poinsettia to grow in poor lighting conditions. While lack of light will not cause harm to your plant, growth rate will slow and distorted or even stunted. In the end, light is the most important component of photosynthesis.

The poinsettia you have will not produce enough energy to grow properly because of a crucial light deficiency. The leaves will appear smaller, less attractive or distorted.

[2] No New Growth

Winter is the sole excuseable period for your plant to display no new growth. There is nothing shocking about it when your poinsettia is in the dormancy period around November.

If your poinsettia doesn’t produce new leaves, shoots, and stems in the high-growth period in spring and summer and fall, it’s probably struggling. One reason may be that it’s not getting enough sunlight. This means that it’s not producing enough energy to support new growth.

[3] Leaning Towards Light Sources

Leaning towards the light source is a survival strategy that nearly all plants can survive under low lighting conditions. It is possible to notice that leaves, shoots, as well as stems are orienting themselves towards the one window, light bulb or cracks within the room.

Most of the time the upper and the outside branches are bent slightly towards the sun’s direction. The side that faces towards the source of light is typically healthy and lively. The opposite side typically shows symptoms of malnutrition – tiny leaves, wilting, yellow coloring, etc.

[4] Extended Internodes or Leggy Growth

Growth that is leggy can be a typical problem for indoor plants that suffer from light deficiency. Your poinsettia could react similarly when it’s not getting sufficient lighting.

In the absence of enough sunlight reaching the leaves, the poinsettia will try to lengthen its branches, internodes and stems in order to catch the most light possible. This can result in slightly sloppy, leggy growth.

[5] Abnormal Leaf Color

The yellowing of older and lower leaves is usually the first sign of a deficiency in light. If the foliage isn’t receiving enough sunlight to allow photosynthesis, it’ll experience the phenomenon known as chlorosis. This is a condition that occurs when protected (mostly the lower) leaves are unable to produce green chlorophyll.

Don’t be shocked when some leaves turn totally white and discolored. Certain leaves could be able to show purple or pinkish hue instead of the green.

[6] Browning Leaves & Tips

Poinsettias that are kept in dim light environments are much more vulnerable to be overwatered. The process of drying the soil can be a long process instead of a few days. If your plant is in lots of water the stems and roots could begin to decay and attract pests and diseases.

The excess water that is absorbed by the soil is deposited at the edges of leaves. The edema and damage caused by pests can appear as brown spots and leaves. They can cause tissue damage, which can cause browning of the leaf tips and edges.

[7] Leaves Dropping

Leaf drop is probably the most frequent symptom observed by poinsettias under low light. It’s an important way that the plant attempts to eliminate certain leaves to lessen the burden on resources. Furthermore the conditions of low light usually are accompanied by the effects of cold that result in the leaves falling off.

[8] Soil Taking Weeks to Dry Out

If it’s not dormant (which occurs during winter) the soil of your poinsettia will dry up and require watering every 7 or more days.

The majority of the water is absorbed by the soil by the roots. The rate at which water is absorbed typically depends on the activity of the plant. The plants are receiving enough sunlight to thrive and are using the water quickly.

Bright light that is which is ideal for poinsettias, increases the rate of loss of water from the leaves via transpiration and respiration. This results in the soil becoming dry and drying quickly. Furthermore, the water evaporates faster from the potting mix under the bright sunlight.

Low light may be the cause when the potting mix needs weeks to dry.

How to Provide More Light

There are two methods to fill your poinsettias with more illumination:

Find an Ideal Spot

The ideal spot for your poinsettia needs to be able to meet two lighting requirements. The light source must be indirect. However it should be bright.

Based on my experience, I have found that placing your poinsettias three to four feet away from the south-facing window is a great option. This is where it will receive over six hours indirect, bright sunlight.

Use Artificial Light

You are fortunate, poinsettia seems to love being in artificial light. The best thing I can recommend to anyone who has a poinsettia is the LED lights. They last for a long time, are energy efficient and produce just the blue and red wavelengths of light required by the poinsettia.

The best part is that you can place your ornaments wherever you want within your home!

Signs That Your Poinsettia Is Getting Too Much Light

[1] Wilting

Poinsettia loves the gentle morning sun. However, when the sun turns hot between noon until 4 pm, the heat could cause a lot of damage to the poinsettia. The leaves will begin to dry, crisp, and then curl.

Plants exposed to direct sunlight for a long time will also burn the leaves. The leaves slowly become brown, and then wither and eventually be able to fall off. Similar things can happen to your poinsettia in the hottest times of the day, if you’re getting too much sunlight.

[2] Leaves Curling

A lot of sunlight (especially bright sunlight) causes rapid loss of moisture from leaves. The loss of water from the leaves causes the leaves to curl up. The poinsettia also responds to this by inducing a higher rate of transpiration.

[3] Brown Leaf Margins

If your poinsettia’s foliage is exposed to excessive light the leaves won’t just curl and begin to wilt. They also begin to become crispy and dark at the edges and edges. As time passes, the browning will spread into the remaining leaves.

Edges and tips of leaves that are brown usually occur due to excessive heat and light combine in order to dehydrate the soil. The result is dry soil and brown leaf edges.

[4] Discoloration of Bracts

The poinsettia’s bracts are stunningly beautiful and attractive. However, they require scattered light to keep their vibrant color. They require 14+ hours of darkness over eight weeks prior to the Christmas season.

When too much sunlight falls on bracts, they be bleached, and lose their stunning colour. The leaves, at their ends, can appear translucent, pale and brownish spots.

[5] Thickening of New Growth and Leaf Yellowing

The yellowing of the leaves in poinsettias is typically caused by sunlight burn from direct exposure or soil that is parched. In either scenario the negative result will affect the growth of new plants. They will get thicker to reduce the surface area to limit the loss of moisture quickly.

[6] Excessively Compact Growth

It’s likely that you’ll see a lot of small growth in the hottest daytime temperatures of the summer. Because of too much sunshine, leaves isn’t able to speed up the rate of transpiration to cope with the loss of moisture.

The poinsettia’s reaction to this by shrinking the branches and leaves. The new growth will, consequently, appear smaller and swollen.

What to Do If the Poinsettia Is Getting Too Much Light?

The first step you need to do is relocate your poinsettia. Place it in a place within your home where it is likely to receive at least six hours of indirect light.

It should be kept away of direct light. It’s as simple as moving your poinsettia just a couple of feet from the windows facing south or west.

Alternately, you could put some sheer curtains or blinds on your windows. This will block direct sunlight. This means that only indirect light reaches your poinsettia.

More important It is important to trim off sunburned, damaged or extremely brown leaves. They will not repopulate in the end. Pruning can also speed the process of the recovery process.



Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)