Euphorbias are hardy perennial plants that are easy to grow with few problems. Famous for their richly colored leaves and unusual flowers, euphorbias are an excellent addition to your plant collection.
They prefer a spot in full sun, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight on most days, though some species can tolerate partial shade. In hot climates, some afternoon shade can be helpful for most species.
Euphorbia plants require plenty of light and different temperature requirements depending on their location. You can grow this semi-succulent outdoors as an ornamental shrub if you live in a warm climate.
When outdoors, they will need at least six hours of sunlight a day, while you should set indoor plants in an area that gets three to four hours of natural or artificial light daily. In cold climates, make sure that you store your plants in a place where they can get plenty of sunlight.
What is Full Sun?
A full sun location, on most days, must receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight. Full sun is hard to achieve because while many plants need full sun to set buds and bloom, some plants cannot handle the intense heat and dry conditions that often come with that much sunshine.
One way to place these sensitive plants where they receive most sunlight is in the morning or late afternoon because the temperatures are slightly lower. However, if the plants get at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight, they should grow well.
The Different Species of Euphorbia and their Sunlight Requirements
Euphorbia is known to have more than 2,000 species. Out of the total, nearly about 1,300 come under the category of succulents. These different species have different light requirements. Let’s look at some of the species and the additional sunlight requirements.
Silver-leaved euphorbias love sunny environments. They include Euphorbia myrsinites and Euphorbia rigida.
Variegated euphorbias grow best in dark soil. Therefore bright and sunny places are for this type of plant. These plants may not make it through harsh and freezing winters.
Mediterranean varieties, mainly euphorbia characias, are excellent winter plants for well-drained, sunny areas. You have to protect them from frost storms.
In comparison to other varieties, Woodland euphorbias grow best in darker environments. Still, You have to provide them with some sunlight to grow. These euphorbias are stockier.
Indoor Euphorbia Light Requirements
Euphorbias will happily grow indoors with proper care and attention. If your Euphorbia succulent is indoors, it may need a bright light throughout the day. Place the plant close to a window with lots of natural light rather than artificial light for those looking to grow indoors.
Southward or west-facing windows are the best place for them inside (four or more hours of the direct sun shining on the plant), though they can also be grown in very bright indirect light. They also do well when located close to an east-facing window or door during the cold months of winter.
Euphorbias’ skin is more delicate than cactus, so their chances of burning if placed within 18 inches of a window are high. Placing them at an angle to the window helps prevent this. Place it less than 1ft from a south-facing window to maximize the growth potential.
If you grow them in bright indirect light, ensure the plant has excellent drainage and keep it as warm as possible. Euphorbia does not tolerate low-light. Remember that EuphorbiaEuphorbia will want more indirect or artificial sun exposure hours than other plants. More exposure to light will increase their chances of surviving through those colder periods while keeping them warmer than being outdoors on your porch.
Outdoor Sunlight Requirements
From Spring to Fall, you can place the containers on the patio or in the garden. If you’re planting your EuphorbiaEuphorbia outdoors, then choose an area that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight each day.
Most Euphorbias are sun lovers, but some will tolerate partial shade. Increase sun exposure gradually to prevent sunburn. If you want your Euphorbia plant to be healthy, try to provide it with as much light exposure.
If the succulent becomes too stressed out by the full sun, we recommend a location in the partial shade instead. Just remember to make sure you provide it with plenty of bright light. It is usually grown in a container indoors, but you can move it outdoors for the colder winter months.
What is Partial Shade?
Partial shade for Euphorbias means four to six hours of sun exposure each day, preferably in the cooler hours of the morning. However, there is a subtle difference:
- If a plant requires partial sun, make sure it receives at least four to six hours of sun daily. These plants need a couple of hours of sun to set flowers and fruits; however, they are not as demanding as the sun worshippers, which require a full sun day.
You will need to experiment to find the ideal spot in your garden for plants listed as the partial sun. If the plants you’ve tucked into a part sun garden aren’t flowering or growing up to expectations, it is because they need more direct sunlight.
- If a plant requires partial shade, the plant will need some relief from the intense heat of the late afternoon sun. You can easily accomplish this by planting where a nearby tree will cast afternoon shade or growing on the east side of a structure where you block the area from the direct afternoon sun.
Can Euphorbias Take too much sun?
Euphorbia plants do better when they receive a lot of exposure to light, but they need protection from scorching heat and direct sun. Too much heat will cause severe damage to your plants.
Too much sunlight causes sunburn and sun damage in Euphorbia plants. Sun damage can happen quickly during a heatwave or when the temperatures suddenly soar. Sometimes, the damage can occur over time. The first sign of sunburn is brown/yellow spots on your plant. If you notice the signs of sun stress early, you can remedy the effects to avoid further damage to your plants.
Move your Euphorbias to a shaded area or place them next to taller plants to protect them from excessive sun. If you don’t take action even after realizing these signs, some Euphorbia plants will burn and die after a while.
Although some species may adapt to and survive the heatwave, ensure that you provide sufficient protection to your plants when temperatures start to soar.
Gradually Introducing your Euphorbia to More Sun. Typically, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can damage your Euphorbia plants, leading to permanent scarring or even death. Acclimatize your plants slowly to the intense sunlight before total exposure to prevent this from happening.
You can start by positioning them to partial shade and slowly introducing them to more sunlight until you fully acclimate them to more sun. First, expose them to the morning sun, which is less intense, and slowly introduce the plants to the more scorching afternoon sun.
You can also put your Euphorbias under the shade of other tall plants before moving them away and exposing them to direct sunlight. The main objective is to gradually increase sun exposure to avoid shocking the plants and causing sunburn or permanent scarring.
Euphorbias growing indoors can also suffer from sun damage when moved outdoors abruptly. So, it is always good to find ways of gradually acclimatizing the plants to intense heat before you put them under direct sun.
Newly propagated or young euphorbias are highly susceptible to sun damage when placed under direct sunlight. Let them mature first before exposing them to more sun. Since your outdoor spaces receive varying amounts of sunlight, you will need to find out the best way to determine which location will suit your Euphorbia plants best.
Signs of Too Little Light
Generally, most cacti species need at least four to six hours of sunlight to thrive; Euphorbias are no exception. These plants enjoy being in bright and sunny spots. Plants that don’t get adequate exposure to light may show some signs.
One of the most common signs that your plants aren’t receiving adequate light is etiolation/elongation, whereby they stretch trying to seek out more light. Although stretching out appears to be an excellent self-adaptation mechanism, it causes weak stems and may lead to poor growth.
Euphorbia plants that do not receive adequate exposure to light may also become pale or go back to their original green color. On the contrary, plants that receive sufficient exposure to light demonstrate their true beauty by showcasing a wide range of vibrant colors.
If you plan on growing Euphorbias outdoors, find a place that gets plenty of sunlight. When growing indoors, place it near a south or west-facing window. Full sun or partial shade works best for Euphorbias. Try to keep them out of the most extreme conditions if you want the best results.