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The flowers usually last for about 2-6 months after being purchased.
After flowering and the falling of the leaves that is the end of this wonderful looking shrubs life, unless you have the time and patience to get it re-flowering again for the following Christmas.
Here is the basic steps for encouraging this plant to bloom again, which is not easy.
1-April - May:
Cut back all the stems once the leaves start falling to approximately 8-10cm in length, water less and allow the soil to become dry with the plant sitting in a cool shady spot (15-18°C) .
2-May - Sept:
During May re-pot and replace most of the old potting mix, then begin watering. Water thoroughly once the soil becomes dry and feed every 4 weeks until September. The pot can be slightly bigger if the roots are becoming bound to the old pot. During this period prune the new growth so you have only 4-5 strong stems and 1-3 leaves on each of them.
3-Oct - Nov:
At the end of September is when light control is very important. The poinsettia will now need to be covered for 14hrs a day (from about 6pm - 8am) with a black plastic box or bag. This will need to be done daily for 8 weeks. During the day place the plant on a brightly lit windowsill or near, and continue normal watering and feeding.
Yippee...you can now stop artificial light reduction, should see buds appearing and it may have grew a bit taller. Begin normal care and attention from now and stop fertilizing until February
Average temperatures from 18 - 24°C and no less than13°C are fine during the flowering season. Follow the guidelines above on re-flowering after March.
A brightly lit spot near a window is needed. Avoid direct sunlight during summer if your hoping the plant will produce flowers again.
Watering thoroughly once the soil begins to dry to the touch, is suggested. Watering with distilled or rain water, that's tepid is advised. Do not allow the plant to sit in water within its tray because this may cause root rot (remove excess water).
If you plan to re-pot after the flowering season then use a potting mix that contains peat moss, perlite and vermiculite or similar.
Re-pot if your plant roots become pot bound in a pot a couple of inches bigger from May - June.
A balanced fertilizer should be used about once every 4 weeks from February - November, with a balanced liquid solution
Normal room humidity should be fine and mist the the leaves often, during the flowering season.
Propagate the poinsettia plant with stem cuttings at the beginning of summer and use rooting hormone.