It wasn't long ago that this plant surprised me by beginning to produce an offset, something I intended to blog about but apparently never got around to.
N. ampullacea 'Dark Star' is one of those plants I've had forever (since October 2008) that have just never gotten the signal to do much. It's grown a new rosette of leaves a couple times, the first time being in August 2009, and it's lost a rosette once, which I didn't bother to record. But it's always been more or less the same size, growing new leaves occasionally, but not in any hurry or anything. So the offset was interesting, but I figured it just predicted the death of one of the old rosettes of leaves.
It turns out that yes, that's probably what it predicted, but at least I'll get flowers first. Neoregelia flowers (previously) (previouslier) are one of those flowers that I think are actually prettier and more interesting before they open, so I'm happy to have gotten to see them while still buds: usually the whole process happens too fast to catch.
By the rules of bromeliads, this means that the rosette of leaves which is blooming will have a period of time in which to produce new rosettes, after which point it will die, so the whole thing is very good-news-bad-news, but that's plants for you.