Pansy – Disappearing Flowers

Q: Something is eating the blooms off of my pansies. It must visit at night because I see the blooms during the day but they’re gone and just the stems are left when I next check on them.

A: Why do we always want to blame critters when our plants disappear? It is normal to suspect rabbits because they are nocturnal and they browse on plants close to the ground. But in this case I think Peter Cottontail is not to blame.

You didn’t describe how and when your pansies were planted but I have seen “vanishing blooms” on small-sized pansies that were planted late. The explanation for the missing flowers is simple: they dry up and blow away!

Pansies protect themselves from cold by allowing their tissue to partially dry out. That’s why the leaves look so wilted in the morning after a cold night. Given a few hours of sunshine, though, and the leaves look like nothing has happened. It’s not too far of a jump to see how the pansy blooms also dry out but are unable to rehydrate themselves the next day. With any breeze at all, the tissue-dry blossoms disappear.

If the leaves of your pansies are healthy looking, everything will turn out fine. As the roots grow larger, the blooms will be ale to remain on the plant for several days.

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