Bok choy needs full sun but not an excessive amount. This leafy green vegetable only requires 3–5 hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive and flourish. As long as temperatures remain between 55–80℉ (13–27℃) bok choy can tolerate a full 6–8 hours of sun. In warm climates where temperatures soar above 80℉ (27℃) during summer, the sun should be limited to 3–5 hours daily. Otherwise, the plant may become stressed and will not reach its maximum growing potential. In particularly hot climates, a few hours of dappled sunlight is often enough for this plant to grow and produce a good harvest.
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How Many Hours of Sun Does Bok Choy Need?
Bok choy needs anywhere from 3–5 hours of full sun a day. Bok choy likes a cool environment and will thrive best when temperatures remain between 55–80℉ (13–27℃). So, overexposure to heat and sunlight should be limited, particularly in warm climates.
- Bok choy should have between 3 and 5 hours of direct sunlight each day.
- For the best growth, avoid exposing bok choy to hot afternoon sun when temperatures rise above 80℉ (27℃).
- In hot climates, morning sun and afternoon shade is the best combination.
In especially warm climates, one of the best ways to keep your bok choy healthy is to provide its full sun hours during the morning, and offer it shade in the afternoon, during the hottest part of the day. This way, it is receiving the required direct sunlight, but there is less danger of it becoming sun-scorched. Plant bok choy in east-facing beds that receive morning sun and afternoon shade.
Can Bok Choy Grow in Indirect Sunlight?
Bok choy can grow and thrive well in indirect sunlight. In many cases, if indirect light is provided for a full day, you won’t be able to tell the difference between bok choy grown in full sun and bok choy grown in indirect sunlight.
- Bok choy can grow and thrive in indirect sunlight.
- Indirect sun may be the best choice for bok choy if you live in a very hot climate.
- When growing bok choy in indirect sunlight, provide a full day of sun.
If you live in a very hot climate, indirect light may even be better for your bok choy plants than limited full sun. Since bok choy struggles in hot weather, it’s best to keep it cool above all else. The combination of hot temperatures and direct sun can actually be bad for your plants. When growing this vegetable in indirect sunlight, just make sure that the light is available for the majority of the day. A full day of indirect sun will provide your bok choy with fuel for growth, without risking damage to the plant.
Can Bok Choy Grow in Shade?
Bok choy will often grow in the shade. Unlike some vegetables, it does not require full sun to survive. However, there is one major drawback to growing the plant in shade—your bok choy will not grow to its fullest potential. It may grow slowly and have less flavor if it doesn’t receive some direct sunlight or a full day of indirect sunlight.
- Bok choy can grow in shade and typically won’t die.
- Bok choy grown in full shade will not mature and might be less tasty.
- For the best harvest, avoid full shade for your bok choy plants.
If you are growing bok choy as an edible, you obviously want the best harvest possible. If it’s planted in the shade, bok choy may grow leggy. It may also lean in one direction as it tries to reach the sun. Bok choy that receives no sun at all will be smaller and in some cases, less tasty than bok choy that is exposed to appropriate sunlight.
What Happens if Bok Choy Doesn’t Get Enough Sun?
Bok choy that does not get enough sun will probably grow leggy. Like most vegetables, this Asian green will grow to extreme lengths to reach the sun it needs. Small, pale leaves are also a sign of sun deprivation. In fact, odd changes in the color or size of the leaves almost always indicate the plant is not receiving enough sun.
- Bok choy will grow leggy if it is deprived of sun.
- The leaves of your plant may be small and pale if it doesn’t receive enough sunlight.
- Bok choy plants that lean in one direction constantly are probably seeking additional sun.
- If your bok choy fails to flower, it may be in need of extra sunlight.
Additionally, if you notice your bok choy leaning in one direction all the time, it is a sign that the plant is trying to find the sun. Bok choy that fails to flower is probably sun-deprived as well. The remedy for any of these problems is to give your bok choy a minimum of 3 hours of full sun per day.
Can Bok Choy Get Too Much Sun?
Bok choy can easily get too much sun, especially in hot climates. Deciding how much is too much is an important consideration. This is because overexposure to the sun can lead to several negative outcomes.
- Bok choy can get too much sun, especially in warm climates.
- Bolting is a major sign of overexposure to the sun.
- Drooping from the base, brown leaves, and wilting are also signs of too much sun.
Bolting is a major problem that often occurs when bok choy receives too much sun. You’ll know your bok choy is bolting when yellow flowers appear well before harvest time. If your bok choy bolts prematurely, this can ruin the flavor of the green leaves. Other signs of too much sun include wilting, brown leaves, or drooping from the base.
How Much Sun Does Bok Choy Require?
Boy choy can be a tricky plant to grow since it requires some sun but can be easily harmed by too much sun and heat. When planting and growing bok choy, keep these rules in mind:
- 3 to 5 hours of direct sun each day is ideal for healthy bok choy.
- If temperatures are below 80℉ (27℃), bok choy will do okay with full sun for 6–8 hours.
- Direct sunlight when temperatures rise above 80℉ (27℃) can harm bok choy.
- In hot climates, you can grow bok choy in indirect sunlight, as long as the plant receives indirect light all day.
- Bok choy that is grown in the shade will struggle, fail to mature, and have a weak flavor.
- For best results, plant bok choy where it gets sun early in the morning, followed by shade the rest of the day.
For most growers, we recommend planting bok choy on the east side of a house, building, or fence. This way, your Chinese cabbage will receive plenty of morning sun. Then, it will be fully shaded from the afternoon heat. As long as your bok choy remains in cooler temperatures, you will get a plentiful harvest of delicious greens.