Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR, 280–400 nm) is known to affect macroalgal physiology negatively, while nutrient availability may affect UV-absorbing compounds (UVACs) and sensitivity to UVR. However, little is known about the interactive effects of UVR and nitrate availability on macroalgal growth and photosynthesis. We investigated the growth and photosynthesis of the red alga Gracilaria lemaneiformis (Bory) Grev. at different levels of nitrate (natural or enriched nitrate levels of 41 or 300 and 600 μM) under different solar radiation treatments with or without UVR. Nitrate-enrichment enhanced the growth, resulted in higher concentrations of UVACs, and led to negligible photoinhibition of photosynthesis even at noon in the presence of UVR. Net photosynthesis during the noon period was severely inhibited by both ultraviolet-A radiation (UVA) and ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB) in the thalli grown in seawater without enriched nitrate. The absorptivity of UVACs changed in response to changes in the PAR dose when the thalli were shifted back and forth from solar radiation to indoor low light, and exposure to UVR significantly induced the synthesis of UVACs. The thalli exposed to PAR alone exhibited higher growth rates than those that received PAR + UVA or PAR + UVA + UVB at the ambient or enriched nitrate concentrations. UVR inhibited growth approximately five times as much as it inhibited photosynthesis within a range of 60–120 μg UVACs · g−1 (fwt) when the thalli were grown under nitrate-enriched conditions. Such differential inhibition implies that other metabolic processes are more sensitive to solar UVR than photosynthesis.