Do Poinsettias Need Sun? [How Many Hours Per Day?]

Finding the best ways to care for the plants in your home and garden isn't always easy. For example, do you want to grow a poinsettia or have one from the store and don't know its sun requirements? Does this festive shrub species need the sun to grow and survive?

Luckily, we've done plenty of research into this question and have the answer below!

Yes, poinsettias do require sun, regardless of whether they're indoors or outside. Generally, this plant species needs between four and six hours of sunlight daily, so you want to make sure it is somewhere warm and in direct contact with the sun.

If you keep a poinsettia inside, we recommend having it in a bright room free of drafts. Especially indoors, it's better to keep the poinsettia near a sunny window to ensure it stays healthy.

As we start this article, we will cover all things growing poinsettias and discuss whether your plant needs sun. If you're new to this festive species, have a poinsettia inside/out in the yard, or have additional questions, we're here to help. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

Does A Poinsettia Need Sun?

Christmas Poinsettia

Yes! Like any plant, your poinsettia will require around six hours of sunlight daily. Even though we see these festive shrubs in the grocery store around the holidays, they're still living, growing organisms.

Therefore, once you get one home, you need to make sure it goes somewhere with plenty of light. According to Utah State University, poinsettia grows well in bright, indirect lighting if inside and in the partial sun if grown outdoors.

That said, you want to treat your poinsettia as you would with any other annual/perennial shrub and give it water, light, and good soil.

Even if you only want to keep one through the winter season, there are ways to ensure your shrub stays healthy, vibrant, and growing until you no longer want it.

It's also worth mentioning that poinsettias are tropical plants, meaning you don't want to leave them in too much shade or low temperatures.

How Many Hours Of Sunlight Should Poinsettia Get Daily?

Flowerbed of fresh red poinsetia flowers with waterdrops, Do Poinsettias Need Sun? [How Many Hours Per Day?]

When it comes to their daily sunlight needs, a poinsettia should receive between four and six hours of direct sun exposure each day. However, that's assuming your shrub is outside, where the sun will be more powerful through the 4-6 hour period.

If your plant is inside, you need to have it somewhere with bright light all day. For example, placing a poinsettia in a bright, warm entryway could be a great location.

Additionally, if you have a green room, a covered porch/balcony, or an enclosed deck, these are all places a poinsettia will thrive. Remember, even though you find poinsettias mainly during the holidays: they do not appreciate the cold or a lack of sunshine!

According to SunSentinel, when planting a poinsettia, you want a place that does not receive any artificial light from the street, porch, or house.

This artificial lighting won't help your plant to grow and doesn't make up for insufficient sunlight.

Should I Keep My Poinsettia Inside Or Outdoors?

Closeup of red poinsettia flowers (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Depending on the weather, you might need to keep your poinsettias indoors through winter. As we covered above, the poinsettia is a tropical species, meaning the cold is not a place they should be.

Specifically, these vibrant shrubs do best in rooms between 55 and 65 F at night and 65 to 70 F during the day. So, for indoor plants, make sure to replicate those climates.

The same applies to outdoor poinsettias, so bring your shrub back into the house if it's colder than 50-55 through the evening. A common mistake people make with this species is they leave it in their entryway through the cold and snow.

If you do this, your poinsettia will likely die, which is easily avoidable if you follow these tips.

However, failing to keep your poinsettia warm enough through the winter will cause it to become sick and lose its ever-loved foliage: so the choice is yours.

Moreover, some experts recommend putting indoor poinsettia near radiators/heaters, but not too close; your plant gets crispy.

How Cold Is Too Cold For A Poinsettia?

For those wanting to try and keep their poinsettias outside, weather below 50 degrees can become a problem for your plant. Remember, poinsettia love warm climates, which can make having one outdoors in the winter highly problematic.

For example, if you put your poinsettia out on the porch during the day and it stays around 50-60 degrees, there won't be any issues.

However, if you forget to bring it inside as night falls, this is when frost damage is more likely. Poinsettia can handle weather near 50 degrees F, so try and always remember that when situating your shrub.

You also want to recall that poinsettia loves the sun (and needs at least 4-6 hours daily), so having them in the cold without it can prove deadly.

Can I Grow Poinsettia In The Shade?


Suppose your landscape doesn't have much full sun. In this case, you should be able to grow poinsettia as long your plant gets four or more hours of sun daily.

Even though poinsettia prefers full sun outdoors, that doesn't mean they can't adapt to the shade. According to HGTV, a poinsettia in the shade may grow longer and rangier-looking.

So, that's one downside of having your plant in more shaded areas, but again, it will still grow and live. Garden pros also recommend ensuring your poinsettia gets enough water and fertilizer if it's in the shade.

Like most plants, the more shaded one is, the more attention and upkeep it will require. On top of that, you can't grow a poinsettia inside without sun, so this applies to outdoor ones only.

Indoor poinsettia will require constant light, indirect or direct, to live, so that's a different story.

What Happens If A Poinsettia Doesn't Get Enough Sunlight?

If your poinsettia doesn't receive enough sunlight, expect a few things to occur. First, your shrub will likely start to lose its leaves and discolor without enough sun exposure.

Next, your poinsettia may have trouble producing new stems and leaves, even becoming stunted entirely. Generally, when a plant doesn't get the nutrients it needs from the sun, it won't be able to grow.

Even for seasonal plants, that can lead to short lifespans and dying leaves within a week of putting your poinsettia inside or outside. So, the more sunshine and bright light you can give to your poinsettia, the better and longer it will live.

According to New Mexico State University, if your poinsettia also lacks moisture in its air, you could see similar side effects. The key to this tropical species is sun and humidity always.

Can You Grow Poinsettias Year-Round?

Flat lay composition with beautiful poinsettia on grey background.

Yes! If you want to grow a poinsettia year-round, that's certainly achievable with special care. A poinsettia can generally thrive through the four seasons in milder conditions.

Again, these vibrant plants are tropical, meaning they don't respond well to cooler temperatures. Therefore, if you wish to grow one all year in your garden, it will need to be above 50 degrees.

As we said, your poinsettia will require six-ish hours of direct sun each day. Furthermore, you want your shrub to have well-draining nutrient-rich soil to grow in, so don't stop at the sun.

On top of those factors, poinsettias also thrive in open spaces, so let your shrub have some wiggle room! Even though we don't often consider poinsettia a year-round species, you want to treat one like any other plant in your garden to see it continue to thrive.

Additionally, suppose you want to keep poinsettia as a houseplant. In that case, you need to follow our earlier light suggestions to ensure it can get the nutrients and vitamins from the sun it needs to live.

Are Poinsettias Annuals Or Perennials?

If you're in USDA growing zones 9-11, a poinsettia will grow as a perennial in your landscape. However, you can't usually expect perennial growing habits from those outside these zones.

As we covered, poinsettias are warm, tropical climate shrubs. Therefore, trying to grow one in a colder location will likely end with a dead plant the minute freezing weather arrives in your garden.

According to Platt Hill Nursery, poinsettias are very easy to maintain in tropical climates. Considering they're native to Mexico, you can expect these to thrive outdoors throughout the southern US towards the Mexican border.

Of course, it still gets colder than 50 degrees sometimes in warmer zones, so in that case, don't be afraid to relocate your poinsettia into the garage or your home during cold spells.

Again, every USDA zone is different, so if you're outside 9-11, consider your poinsettia an annual.

To Finish It All Up

Whether you have a poinsettia left from the holidays or want to grow one year-round, it's essential to know this species' sun requirements. We found that a poinsettia needs roughly six hours of daily sunlight to grow and stay healthy.

On top of that, this shrub is tropical, so you don't want to keep one in weather colder than 50 degrees. Luckily, gardeners can move poinsettia inside if it's especially chilly, ideally placing them in a bright, warm window.

You might also want to place a poinsettia near a heater or radiator inside your home to keep it warm: remember not to be too close! Good luck with your new plant, and have fun.

Made it to the end? Check out these helpful related garden articles below:

Does Corn Need Full Sun To Grow? [Can It Grow In The Shade?]

Is Morning Or Afternoon Sun Better For Vegetable Garden?

Best Small Trees For Pots In Full Sun [15 Gorgeous Ideas For Your Land Scaping]

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