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Home Lifestyle Gardening Purple Sunflowers: Facts, Growing, Caring & More

Purple Sunflowers: Facts, Growing, Caring & More

A purple sunflower?! Yes. I know some of you will get astonished to learn of a purple sunflower.

It’s perfectly understandable. Given that most literature and representations give more prominence to the yellow or golden sunflower variety.

But now there are cultivars. These cultivars bring different colors, shapes, and sizes to the world of sunflowers.

If you don’t know what a cultivar is:

A cultivar refers to a plant grown in cultivation under selective breeding. In other words, these types of plants get maintained and produced by horticulturists. The other characteristic known to them is that they don’t produce true-to-seed. [1}

It’s amazing, I know. So what more should you know about purple sunflowers?

Let’s dig in…

Common gardening terms you should know

First, I figured that some of you might not know some of the frequently used gardening terms.

You’ll come across these terms when you visit the shops, when planting, and when you get started with the ongoing care. The most frequent place you’ll interact with these terms is the plant labels and seed packs.

I haven’t used all of them in this article. However, you know what they say – ‘Knowledge is priceless’.

And, for that reason, I have taken the liberty to highlight them below. Let’s take a quick look:

Annual Plants

Annual plants are usually denoted with a “(A)”. These types of plants normally die off after only one season of growth. Their life cycle, in summary, is a seed that grows only up to the moment it produces seeds. These seeds are then harvested for various uses.

After the harvest, the plant then dies.

This is their basic trait: To grow as strong and healthy as possible and produce the highest quality of seeds from the season.

Hardy Annuals

Hardy Annuals get denoted with a “(HA)” abbreviation. These types of plants can withstand a bit of rough weather (winter frost) and still produce healthy seeds. They can go dormant and bloom again under favorable conditions in the next season.

After the subsequent bloom, they eventually die.

Half-Hardy Annual

Half-Hardy Annual plants come with a “(HHA)” denotation. These types of plants are a bit sensitive to cold weather. And for that reason, you need to sow them in safe places like a greenhouse or pots.

You can only plant them when the danger of the cold has passed. The most ideal time is when the summer is just beginning.
Their lifespan goes up until the next autumn’s first frost.

Perennials

Perennials have a “(P)” denotation. These types of sunflowers grow back each year.

For the best results during the following growth year, always aim to prune the leaves after a cycle.

Half-Hardy Perennials

These come denoted with a “(HHP)” abbreviation. These types of sunflower plants can regrow for slightly over 2 years when protected from harsh winters.

Tip: To give them a prolonged lifespan, plant them on free-draining soil to keep them away from water logs.

Biennial

As the name suggests, Biennial (B) plants take up to two years to achieve their full potential.

Stem and leaf growth mostly characterizes their first year. Afterward, the plant rests throughout winter. It later blooms to produce seeds in the second year then dies, scattering its seeds for another cycle.

F1 seeds

F1 (Filial 1) seeds are very common in selective breeding. In this case, two different parent plants get selected for their unique traits. It may be their height, color, or size.

After crossbreeding, they’ll produce a distinguished seed that only grows for one season.

Companion Planting

This term refers to the act of planting a mixed variety of sunflowers together. It also involves the planting of other vegetables, flowers, herbs, and salads.

NB: Ensure that the other plants you want to mix in will not harm your sunflower plant(s) before introducing them.

Types of sunflowers

There is approximately 50 species of the sunflower (Helianthus annuus cv.) plant in existence. Out of this number, you will find that about 38 of them pass as perennial plants.

But despite that fact, most homeowners have gone (and continue to go) with the annual options.

Nevertheless, from these species, you can further group them into three. These are:

  • Colored sunflowers: These are sunflowers that grow in a variety of colors apart from the popular yellow or gold.
  • Traditional Tall sunflowers: These types of sunflowers have a distinguishable characteristic in their size. They grow taller and range from 4 – 30ft! [2]
  • Dwarf sunflowers: You guessed right. This group grows a bit shorter than their mates. They range from 18” up to 5 ft.

All these variations could help you narrow down to the specific cultivar you want when choosing your sunflower.

How to grow purple sunflowers

Growing purple sunflowers do not require any special approach from the rest.

Most sunflowers grow and bloom under the same methods with no adverse effect on the yield. This is regardless of whether you want to plant them for beauty, harvest, or any other reasons.

In a nutshell, growing it revolves around the sun, location, space, and proper watering. [3]

So, to grow your purple sunflowers:

1. Find a suitable location

You must ensure that your sunflower plant gets a lot of direct sunlight. The exposure to the sun should be a minimum of six or eight hours.

Secondly, look for well-drained soil that is also fertile.

For soils that lack enough nutrients or have poor drainage, spread a layer of 2-3 inches of organic matter (plant-based). Alternatively, you can use a well-composted manure cover to make a 1-inch layer. Then, later mix it up to a soil depth of 6 – 8 inches.

2. Plant the seeds

Most homeowners like planting their sunflowers from seed and sow them out in home gardens.

However, to sow outside, plant the seeds 6” apart and about 1 – 2” deep. Also, do the planting during the spring after the danger of frost has passed in your area. The best soil temperatures to plant in are about 56 – 60 F.

In case you have pests like birds, you should put on a net cover over the seeds until they germinate.

Tip: You can opt to start by sowing your seeds indoors using biodegradable containers. They minimize the need to cut under pots during transplanting. This way, you reduce the chances of hurting the roots.

3. Give early care

After your plants have started popping above ground, you may start watering them around their roots. Their root zone is normally spread around the plant in a 4-inch diameter.

At this stage, ensure that you do not overwater the young plants. The watering here serves the purpose of making the roots grow deep.

At this stage again, your young plants may attract pests like slugs, snails, and insects. To remedy this, you can put slug or snail bait near their stems to ward off unwanted guests.

4. Apply feeds or fertilizers

You should practice restraint when applying feeds or fertilizers to your sunflower.

If you overfeed your sunflowers, they will end up having few flowers. This is also accompanied by weak but leafy growth.

For good results, you can use a well-balanced fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 14-14-14. Apply it once during midsummer or as instructed in the packaging and mix it 1-3 inches into the soil.

5. Water regularly

After your sunflower plants get past the early stages, you now have to water them regularly.

By this, I mean at least once every week or twice when there is a drought in your area. This encourages the plant to have deep roots that keep them from falling during strong winds.

Also, depending on the size of your garden, you might use several gallons of water each time.

On the other hand, if you have a rainy forecast in your area, you can stop watering your plants. -At least until the rainy bout has passed.

The good news is that sunflowers are very hardy once grown. At this point, they become resistant to drought and can stay a while without water.

For quality edible seeds, water the plants when they first show signs of wilting. It promotes the proper development of seeds.

6. Harvest

When harvesting your plants for seeds, do so after 30-45 days from the day of planting. By then, the seeds would have become dry and turned brown.

Thereafter, cut the flower from the plant’s stem and hang it upside down. This enhances the drying of the seed and makes them ready for removal.

To extract the seeds successfully, the best way is to use a fork or your fingers.

On the other hand…

When you want to harvest your flowers for a designated bouquet, do it early in the morning. This ensures that your flowers do not wilt.

After the cut, sunflowers can live up to a week if kept in warm water.

Other colored sunflowers alternatives

Are there any other alternatives to the Purple Sunflower? Yes, there are!

The fact that you are here tells me that you love colored sunflowers. So, I went on and selected five other color options that you can consider to plant along with the Purple Sunflower.

They are similarly beautiful and include both annual and perennial options.

a. Evening Sun sunflower

The Evening Sun Sunflower (A) is an annual plant and can grow up to 6ft in height. It normally grows in bronze, red, or yellow color variation. Hence, the name.

The Evening Sun sunflower gets several blooms on one stem. With one bloom measuring around 8” in size.

b. Red Sun

The Red Sun Sunflower (A) also grows up to 6ft tall and makes a great sight in a vase. It has a noticeable dark red color and a single stem that affects multiple blooms (4” in size).

The Red Sun is a great attractor of birds due to its dashing color.

c. Velvet Queen

The Velvet Queen Sunflower is a hardy annual and grows with a copper, claret, or bronze petal color. It has a distinctive dark-colored center and gives off a beautiful scene when growing in a cluster.

The Velvet Queen is also characterized by multiple blooms on a single stem and has a 5” bloom size.

d. Italian White

The Italian White Sunflower (A) gives you a daintily creamy white color. This has a dark brown center highlight and a pale-yellow circle dividing the petals from the center disc.

This breathtaking beauty grows 5 inches tall and gets multiple blooms on its multiple stems. The best thing about it is that it flowers throughout summer and is quite the sight as a decorative display.

Also, the fact that it is white allows you to mix it with other flowers.

e. Pale Purple Berkheya

The Pale Purple Berkheya is a hardy perennial that grows in a pale purple petal colorization.

Compared to the rest, this is a dwarf sunflower and only grows up to about 1 foot in height. And because of that, you can use them as a dazzling garden ground beautifier. This means that you get to enjoy their aesthetic value without having to cut them down.

Worth mentioning is that they have a unique spikey petal shape that’s different from the other sunflowers.

Wrapping up

The Purple Sunflower is an elegant sunflower variant with rich aesthetic values. If you have never tried it in your garden, then I suggest that you give it a shot.

As long as you plant it where it gets a lot of sunlight, you’ll have nothing to worry about. Just make sure that you protect it from pests in its early life and give it enough water.

Also, you can get creative with your bouquet every once in a while.

Try mixing up the Purple Sunflower with other preferred colors. As you have seen, there are no limitations. Decorate your space as your mind envisions.

It was a blast having you here!

Did you enjoy reading? Do you have any other tips, comments, or experiences you want to share? Feel free to reach out in the Comment Section below!

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