Color Changing Flowers

20 minutes
(After 20 minutes.)

The kids and I did an experiment where you put white flowers in water that with food coloring. The flowers change colour and you can use that process to explaining how plants absorb water and nutrients.

I used four half pint canning jars and filled each one halfway with water and used 6 drops each of blue, green, yellow and red food colouring. I bought a big bouquet of white carnations so we had enough flowers to place three in each jar. We created predictions before placing the flowers in the colored water.

Within 20 minutes the color began to change! Even as an adult who know what was going to happen, it is still cool. And by the next morning they were vivid and beautiful!

Except we noticed all the red ones were already starting to wilt. Little bit creepy no? Especially with all the negative things people say about red food coloring. That said, this experiment was not scientific enough for me to say “Oh My Gosh, this PROVES red food coloring is the Devil!” To start with maybe the kids put something else in the red jar and beyond that, humans are not carnations, so using them as a comparision for what we should or shouldn’t eat seems a little silly. Nothing but water and sunlight for you!

I feel like should mention though, I am not in the habit of feeding the children things that contain artificial dyes since there are plenty of alternative options. The artificial colors (that comes in the little plastic bottles you buy in the grocery store) we use in our experiments and crafts are linked to a variety of problems, and while the evidence in some studies might be a little sketchy, I tend to be more in the “rather not risk it” line of thought when it comes to feeding my children things that can negatively effect their development.

one day
(After a day.)

Anyhow I did not intend this experiment it involve explaining my stances on artificial dyes and lifestyle and parenting choices, but I did feel it was important to mention the various effects of the dyes (the green, yellow and blue ones are still completely healthy.

The kids rearranged some of the flowers after a couple days to see if they could get different colors, which was neat too (all the ones exposed to the red dye are dieing faster as well.)

several days
(After several days.)

Have you ever done this experiment? With carnations? What did you observe about the longevity of the various flowers in which dyes?

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