Colored Flowers

Your Challenge: Can you change the color of a flower’s petals?Blue daisy



White Flowers- Queen Anne’s Lace, Carnations, or Daisies

Food Coloring




Here’s How:

  1. Fill the container with water and a few drops of food coloring.
  1. Place the stems into the container.
  1. Wait 6-12 hours, checking back every few hours to observe the progress. What do you observe?


Take it Further:

Fill various containers with different colors of food dye. Place a stem in each container and observe. Do different dyes travel at different rates?

Try experimenting with temperature by placing one container and stem in the refrigerator, while leaving another at room temperature.


How it Works:

The leaves and petals of some plants contain small pores called stomates. Water evaporates through these pores, drawing water through its stems from its roots in the surrounding soil. Water movement in the plant occurs in the xylem, which occur in vascular bundles referred to as veins. The dye travels through the veins, showing the movement of water throughout the plant to the petals. Try cutting the stem in half to closely observe the veins in the stem’s cross-section!


Fun Facts:

  • This technique is commonly used by Florists to amplify the petal colors of flowers.
  • The process of water loss by a plant is called transpiration.
  • Queen Anne’s Lace has commonly been used for medicinal purposes for generations. The roots are high in Vitamin A and the juice is said to have “anti-cancer” properties!
  • According to the Carolina State University, dyeing plants with food coloring shows the effects of pollution on plants. Food dye is an outside source or contaminant to the water with no nutritional value; however, it is still absorbed throughout the stem, leaves and flower of the plant. Like the food dye, pollutants in the water and soil are absorbed through the plant during the process of transpiration.


Related Careers:

BiologistAgricultural ScientistEnvironmental Scientist

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