color changing carnations

this rainbow carnation experiment is one i remember from my own childhood. not only is it a visually appealing activity, it’s also a great way for kids to learn the science behind water is absorbed by plants and how it travels through the different part of a flower.

the inspiration for this post was an old spice rack i had sitting in the garage. what wonderful little vials these are for this experiment! we grabbed some food coloring and white carnations (we had some in the bouquet we bought for our butterfly habitat – all of this happened a few weeks ago, i’m just late bringing it to the blogging world.)

N had fun dropping food coloring into the water, and creating her favorite color, since it was not in the cheapo food coloring pack we had – purple!

she placed a white carnation into each tiny vase, and we put them out of the way of our flower-chomping cat…

and waited. i asked N, “what do you think will happen next?” she said that maybe the flowers would grow, and that they might drink the colored water. let’s see if her hypothesis is correct…

 

even within a day and a half, we saw the petals taking on the colors of the water they were drinking.

ten days later, the colors were distributed throughout the different parts of the flower. we noticed that the purple color was not as saturated in the carnation as the other colors, and the darker colored waters in general seemed to be more full in the end.

 

there are some explanations of this experiment online that we checked out, like this one from ehow. i didn’t find any scientific reason the darker waters would not be absorbed as much. in fact, most of the write-ups i saw recommend using darker colors for more dramatic results. all in all, we had a rainbowy flowery good time with this one!

have you tried making rainbow carnations? if so, what did you notice?

“Did you hear that winter’s over?
The basil and the carnations cannot control their laughter.”

-Rumi

hooray for spring!

04.30

2012
printer friendly printer friendly