Answer: Your plant needs to be kept in total darkness for about 14 hours every night beginning in September to promote coloring of the bracts by Christmas. The best way to provide the necessary darkness is to place your plant in a closet or cover it with a bucket or carton to block out all light, even from a streetlight or lamp. It sounds finicky, which is why many people purchase new plants every year. But it can be fun to see your old plant friend change color as the holidays approach.
When kept as house plants, these are trimmed back very short (to about six inches) in the spring and then the new growth is pinched periodically during the summer to make it dense and bushy. I think if you trim it back now it won't have enough time to grow back before the holidays.
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