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Sunflower, Elf

Short Description

The shortest sunflower ever. Long blooming too!

Full Description

Elf is the finest dwarf, bright gold sunflower ever. Blooms are 4" across on plants only 16" tall. This Burpee Exclusive is easy to grow and perfect for containers, children's gardens, borders and for attracting butterflies.
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Item # Product
Item#: 36046A
Order: 1 Pkt. (35 seeds)
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Product properties


Full Sun


14-16 inches


6-8 inches

Ornamental Use

Beds, Container

Life Cycle


Sow Method

Direct Sow



Bloom Duration


the burpee




since 1876


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Introduction to Annual Flowers
Annual flowers are easy and rewarding to grow. We’ll show you the basic ideas to get you started.
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Growing Sunflowers
See how easy it is to grow these summertime favorites.
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  • Sunflowers are grown from seed sown directly in the garden after frost.

    • Direct sow seeds in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost.
    • When choosing a site consider that sunflowers need a well-drained soil.  They face the sun, so make sure they are in an open area of the garden. The taller varieties will cast shadows on other plants, so plant these at the north end of your garden.
    • Prepare the soil by removing weeds and working organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
    • Most plants respond well to soils amended with organic matter. Compost is a wonderful form of organic matter with a good balance of nutrients and an ideal pH level, it can be added to your planting area at any time. If compost is not available, top dress the soil after planting with 1-2 inches of organic mulch, which will begin to breakdown into compost. After the growing season, a soil test will indicate what soil amendments are needed for the following season.
    • Sow seeds ½ inch deep in groups of 2 or 3 seeds. Space the groups 18-24 inches feet apart, depending on the variety.
    • Firm soil lightly, water and keep evenly moist.
    • Seedlings will emerge in 7-10 days.
    • Thin to one plant per group when seedlings have two sets of leaves.
    • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. 
    • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For annuals an organic mulch of shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
    • Keep soil evenly moist but not wet.
    • Once established sunflowers can tolerate drought.
    • No fertilizer is needed unless the soil is poor. Do not over fertilize.
    • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
    • Some varieties only produce one bloom so once the bloom is spent, the plant may be removed.
    • Remove plants after they are killed by frost in fall to avoid disease issues the following year.
    • Edible sunflowers will mature in about 3 months or more after sowing. To harvest the seeds, cut the heads off after the stalks are quite dry but before fall or winter rains come. Check the flower heads for maturity to see if the florets in the center of the flower disk have shriveled and the back of the flower head is turning yellow, or the head is starting to droop. Cut flower-heads with a foot of the stalk attached. Hang heads in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place so the seeds may fully ripen and dry. Cheesecloth, netting or a paper bag with holes punched in for ventilation should be placed over the head to protect the seeds and to collect those that may drop from drying.
    • Shorter varieties may be grown in containers. Be sure to use a commercial potting mix.
    • Pollenless varieties make terrific cut flowers.
  • Sun
    Full Sun
    14-16 inches
    6-8 inches
    Ornamental Use
    Beds, Container
    Life Cycle
    Sow Method
    Direct Sow
    Bloom Duration
  • Sunflower, Elf is rated 5.0 out of 5 by 6.
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT SUNFLOWER!!!! These sunflowers are great- but watch out for rabbits! I planted 3, but a rabbit ate 1. One sunflower is full grown, and it is 20 inches. These sunflowers are definitely on my planting list next year!
    Date published: 2013-08-12
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from These Rock! These are great seeds to plant in containers! The grow fast and bloom just like the picture. This is my second season growing these (I saved the seeds from the first year), and I am getting lots of compliments. They look great all bunched together and can be used as an outdoor centerpiece for your patio tables etc. We even have a miniature praying mantis nicknamed John Deere keeping watch over the miniature crop, too cute! I am only spacing a few inches apart with no apparent problems. Squirrels also love these so be careful. They may have a stronger scent because the squirrels targeted them as sprouts. A bag of rubber snakes took care of that problem...
    Date published: 2013-07-11
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from great for containers I've planted these two years in a row now and they are just perfect for the large pot I planted them in. Fast to germinate, easy to grow and long blooming.
    Date published: 2012-03-27
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice sunflowers These were the first sunflowers I planted. I never even had to water them after the first couple of weeks. They are good cut flowers and there are many on each plant. They add nice color to the garden, and I recommend to others. The only downside is that approximately after 2 weeks of flowering the flowers start losing their corolla (plural for petal). But I love these plants, nice color splash to any scene.
    Date published: 2010-05-27
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Precious I enjoyed seeing this happy little flowers in my garden. Easy to grow and maintain.
    Date published: 2008-02-02
    Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yellow Beauty They were great and didn't look out of place with my other flowers
    Date published: 2006-05-09
    • 2016-02-13T06:04CST
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