Add Color To Flowers Using Science

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Many florists sell colored carnations, but I think it is more fun to make your own! And you can learn a little something about plants in the process. Best of all, you can make the flowers just about any color you want. Start off with some white carnations from your local florist. We paid about $1.oo each here in the US. (If you just want to demonstrate how plants transport water, and watch color move through leaves, you can also perform this experiment using celery.) You will also need:

Food coloring
Some small cups

Decide what colors you would like the flowers to be and then add that color to your glass. You will need to add enough food coloring to create a strong color in the water, just a few drops of coloring will not have much of an effect. (Our blue looked more like black after adding enough color.)

two_color_carnationSnip the last centimeter of your carnation steam and place the stem in the colored water. Now just wait. Over the next day you will see signs of the coloring emerge in the petals, and even in the leaves. Our experiments have shown that sometimes the color emerges within a few hours, other times it takes a day or two. You can make green flowers for St Patrick’s day, red for valentines…you get the idea.

Mulitcolor? We tried splitting the stem with a razor (adults only, for that part please) and we then placed each stem into a different color of water. Sure enough the flower became multicolored (see above)…pretty cool. We wonder if it would work with three colors. If you try it, let us know.

So how does it work??
This is the science of TRANSPIRATION. It basically means that the plant draws water up through its stem. The water is then evaporated from the leaves and flowers through openings know as stomata. As the water evaporates, it creates pressure that brings more water into the plant – similar to drinking from a straw. Some trees can transpire dozens (even hundreds) of gallons of water on a hot day. How fast a plant transpires depends on temperature, humidity, and even wind. You may want to set up an experiment that tests the transpiration rate of the flowers by placing your plant-coloring set-up in different areas (sunny & dark, windy& still, dry & humid) and see which flower ends up with the most color – more color=more transpiration.

By the way, most flower shops do not color their flowers this way. There are many different breeds of flowers that are capable of producing a wide variety of flower colors. But we still think this way is more fun. If you try this out with your kids or your class, please let us know how it went.


19 Responses to “Add Color To Flowers Using Science”
  1. poohbear123 says:

    This Project Is Niceee . =]

  2. Baby Jackie says:

    Is this project fun to do ?

  3. baby gurl says:

    oh wow that is a good project!!!!love it

  4. BAM says:

    i did this before i worked it was fun

  5. baby gurl says:

    Bob u make a good experiment & there awsome !!!!;-)

  6. theIcecreammaniac says:

    Sweet trick!

  7. me being me says:

    hey bob does this work cause i am doing this for a science demo should it work????

  8. puating says:

    My friends and I always do different things for parties. Besides the food prep we also do flower decor for the stage and tables and even hair pieces, and haku leis, etc. And sometimes specific colors are hard to come by depending on the season. And so with this coloring of the flowers , it’s very helpful. Mahalo 4 sharing.
    I used to spray the white flowers blue or orange even black to frost the tips or give accent to what ever we are doing. I’ve even used can snow for the xmas tree too. Again, thank you for sharing…..

    Aloha Nui Loa,
    ( thank you very much)
    Big Kala’i

  9. 1princesscutie says:

    Wow!!! I haven’t even read it but I already like it!!! plus can you do that with daffodils?

  10. breanna says:

    im going to do that!

  11. leen says:

    If i put the flower again in pure water will it returns to it original colour and why it will not ?

  12. ScienceBob says:

    Once the color has gone into the pedals it is there for good because it cannot evaporate with the water. Putting the flower back into plain water will likely push the coloring to the very edges of the pedals. Let us know what you find out!

  13. blah blah gurl says:

    omg this is awesome is soooooo using this for my project!!!!!<3

  14. blah blah gurl says:

    love it haha and who ever runs this website great job its total awesome and cool also helpful and easy 2 understand thanks!!!<3

  15. JaayRawr says:

    I’m doing this as a science project for school. I’d like to know what kind of variables I could use. If you have any suggestions please write back.

  16. donyaboo says:

    i loved this project actully ima doing one before sbring break i was wondering could u guys help me on what colors should i use

  17. Margo says:

    i have done this experiment. I tried breaking it into 3… and it worked! I used red, blue and green, the green and blue made dark green, blue and red made purple, red and green sort of made orange and yellow it is so cool. I did this experiment with many types of flowers including stock, carnation, daises, and another flower I cant spell or say! (I’m only 12)
    I did this for school science fair and definitely recommend it!
    (a New Zealander)

  18. Katty Kat says:

    I am SOOO using this for my science project!!! :))))

  19. lolo says:

    this flower is amazing i am going to make it and then sell a ton of them for money to go to campstarbound

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