I've had Ananas 'Mongo'1 since November 2008, when we got some in at the ex-job. This is long enough ago that I don't remember much about the event, but I blogged about it at the time, so you can read that if you're interested.
It's grown pretty reliably ever since, and this year I put it outside for the summer. This was at least partly because it had gotten so big, and I wanted it out of my way, which is counterproductive because that only made it grow faster, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Depending on how much sun it was getting, it fluctuated between brown, green, and brown-and-green striped, and it got big, and it attracted frogs, and so on, and then at some point in mid-September, I noticed that it was getting really red in the center. Which was confusing, because I was pretty sure all the plants were getting less light, as we approached the equinox, but I took some photos and went on, as you do.
And then it got more intense. And then I started to see a bunch of little tiny bracts emerging from the center of the plant, and I clued in to the fact that this was the beginning of an inflorescence.
Since then, things have gone pretty much how you'd expect. First the inflorescence appeared --
-- and then the true flowers (lavender) began popping out.
This is easily the Big Plant Event of the Summer, like last summer's one-two punch of Epiphyllum and Clivia. I mean, other things have happened, some of which were also very exciting, but this is the most dramatic and unexpected. Like with the Clivia, I'd pretty much assumed that my conditions weren't going to be suitable for a bloom, and it was just going to be a foliage plant for me forever, and I was fine with that. So blooming is a huge bonus.
Next up: offsets. And the inevitable attempt to root all of them, no matter how little room I have.
a Wikipedia says eight; Plant List says nine. The two sources agree on A. ananassoides, A. bracteata, A. comosus, A. fritzmuelleri, A. lucidus, A. nanus, and A. parguazensis. Wikipedia adds A. erectifolius, which Plant List claims is a synonym of A. lucidus, and Plant List includes two species not on Wikipedia's list: A. monstrosus and A. sagenaria. We will leave the question of which of these, if any, is a legitimate species to the pineapple taxonomists to fight out among themselves in tequila-fueled motorcycle cage matches, as is the pineapple taxonomist custom.
b (0.9 to 1.2 m)