How plants Drink – Tinted Flowers and Celery

Have you ever wondered how trees get their water?  It’s amazing really. I was just reading a book about Appalachian Trail by my favorite writer Bill Bryson and learned that some large trees lift several hundred gallons of water a day from its roots to its leaves without noise or fuss, “imagine the din and commotion, the clutter of machinery, that would be needed for a fire department to raise a similar volume of water.”  Nature is fascinating!

For little kids (and their curious parents) nothing demonstrates the concept of how plants drink better than tinting white flowers.  Or celery!  We first got idea for this experiment from reading Green Thumbs by Laurie Carlson, but we since have seen the same experiment in many early science books.  We like it so much we do it every year.

I started by explaining to my kids that roots
suck up water from the ground and it travels up the stem of the plant into the
leaves and flowers.  When we cut flowers
they no longer have roots but the stem can still suck the water in and move it

Do you want to try this experiment with us? 

Here is what you will need
Celery and white flowers
Food coloring
Glasses/jars with water

What to do

  1. Place a celery stalk and/or white flowers in glasses/jars 
  2. Fill with water and add a few drops of food coloring to each glass 
  3. Give celery/flowers enough time to drink up the water (overnight works for us)

    What happened
    Plants drunk the water.  As plants moved water up, leaves and flowers became colorful.

    Kids can record their observations in a Science Journal and draw a tinted celery/flower to go with it.

    Some additional questions to ask kids:
    1.  What else could you use as a coloring agent?
    2.  Does it make a difference if you add more or less of food coloring?
    3.  What gets tinted faster flowers with shorter stems or longer?

    Our next project is learning about colors through gardening.  We are planning to design a garden using color wheel.  If only spring will ever come to Chicago!

    Have you ever tinted flowers?  Do you like experimenting with with kids? 

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    22 thoughts on “How plants Drink – Tinted Flowers and Celery

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