With this fun science experiment, you can show how stems are important to bringing water and nutrients to a plant.
But warn your little ones that they will have to be patient before they can observe any changes. My boys always look forward to exciting and instant results in our science experiments at home, so I had to explain that this one would take some time before we could see any results! They still had a lot of fun preparing for the experiment.
- Food coloring (various colors)
- 3 glasses or vases filled with water, about 3/4 full
- White flowers – Carnations work well (we used pompons)
1. Generously drop food coloring (about 20-30 drops) into the water, using a different color for each vase or glass.
2. Cut the stems of each flower at an angle and place into the different glasses of colored water.
3. Make predictions of what might happen and make a note of it.
4. Observe over the next 24-72 hours or longer, and record the results.
The petals are changing colors because when the flowers are cut, the stems absorb the water up like a drinking straw. The colored water travels up the stem of the flower and is distributed to all the parts of the plant, including the petals. Isn’t that neat!? You can read more on this experiment and see another fun trick of making a bi-colored flower from one of our favorite scientists Steve Spangler.
There are lots of further questions and observations to be made – here are some suggestions:
Which color showed up the best?
Did you notice any water level changes in the glass or vase?
Did all of the colors start showing at the same time?
Would the experiment work on other types of flowers?
Hope you enjoyed this science experiment!