I bought an Aechmea fasciata in November 2006, after it had bloomed, and it produced two offsets, which I separated and potted up. It's a good species. I've never had any pest problems with it, it grows new leaves regularly, and it accepts a spot that a lot of my other plants won't grow in (near the floor in the living room -- there's light, but it's also near a window and a heat/AC vent, which means that the temperature there fluctuates wildly from hour to hour and month to month).
It's never bloomed for me, which is mildly disappointing. They do need a few years to get old enough to bloom, but not seven. I think the problem here is the care it's gotten: it'd probably like better light and more tropical conditions.
In any case, having had it drummed into me for years that bromeliads flower, then offset as the parent rosette dies back, I had kind of been expecting that the A. fasciatas weren't going to produce any offsets until they'd flowered, and they were never going to flower until I gave them a better spot. But on 7 July, I found this in one of the pots:
And by yesterday, it had grown to this:
So clearly it's not screwing around. I don't know whether to be happy or not: does this mean that it's given up on ever blooming and proceeded directly to rosette replacement? Or is it a good sign, that even though it hasn't bloomed yet, it's feeling happy enough about things to go ahead and offset? Please, someone, tell me how I'm supposed to feel.