The common sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) is an annual crop often grown for seed. A hardy pant that can reach heights up to 15 feet tall, the common sunflower has flower heads that vary in colour, including red and orange, with yellow being the most common. Sunflowers that appear purple are actually considered burgundy. The flowers can grow to over 1 foot in diameter, with seeds in the centre. The sunflowers all grow in the same way, when planted in early spring for a late fall harvest.
Plant the purple sunflower seeds in peat pots in early spring. Fill three-quarters of the peat pots with an all-purpose potting mix. Use your finger to dig a hole approximately 1/2 inch deep into the soil.
Place the seed into the hole and cover with surrounding soil.
Water the seeds gently with 2 to 3 tbsp water or just enough to moisten the soil. Water the seeds every other day to keep them moist.
Place the peat pots on a tray and place the tray in a bright sunny location that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day. Seedlings should emerge in five to seven days.
Plant the sunflowers in the garden when they have reached a height of approximately 4 inches tall. Dig a hole in the garden bed the same size as the peat pot. Place the peat pot in the hole and cover with native soil. The peat pot is biodegradable and will break down into the existing soil. Place each plant at least 12 inches apart, in rows that are 30 inches apart.
Apply 1 inch of organic compost around the base of the plant to provide it with the nutrients it needs during the growing season.
Till the soil surrounding the plants with a hoe to remove weeds that invade your sunflower beds.