Who says back to school can’t begin with a little fun? This DIY experiment is science on rainbow steroids and will intrigue both boys and girls. Learn about plant anatomy, enjoy a little magic, and become the inventor of a whole new flower species. Transform white blooms into any colour you like, here’s how:
Any white flowers should work well for this experiment. Here are some top picks that are currently in bloom, either in the garden or at your local GCA Garden Centre.
- White roses
You will need:
- A few white flowers (store-bought or hand-picked).
- 4 Different shades of food colouring (or as many as you like).
- 4 Medium-sized drinking glasses or jars (avoid plastic cups).
- A pair of sharp scissors
- Fill half of each glass with water.
- Pour half the bottle of your chosen food colouring, one at a time, into each glass of water. You want to achieve a rather concentrated colour so that your flower will have a vibrant hue.
- Cut any leaves off your flowers and trim the stems to fit nicely inside your glass. You want some stem sticking out with your flower comfortably resting against the glass.
- Pop your clean-stemmed flowers inside the different glasses.
- After two hours or so, you will begin seeing slight colours appearing on the edges of the flower petals. When the kids wake up, the flowers should be completely coloured in and looking lovely!
- As a fun little extra, kids could also name their new flower species and make little tags for their inventions. Help kids think of names by combining the flower’s botanical name with perhaps their own, other family members, or their pet’s names.
- While the kids wait, here’s some neat to know science stuff about how your flowers have soaked up the colour.
The science of how plants drink:
Out in the wild, plants soak up water from the ground through their roots. The water then travels through the stem and into the flower petals. Although we have removed the roots of our flowers in this experiment, the stems are still able to soak up the coloured water and defy gravity! Plants are super intelligent and use capillary action to drink upsidedown – pretty impressive, right?
Consider this – food for thinkers.
If plants are so easily affected by what goes into their water, imagine what polluted water does to them! Similarly, consider the possibilities of adding other liquids to the water and how this would affect the colour of the blooms. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination:
- See what happens if you use a light and dark soda instead of water.
- How will your flowers turn out if you mixed two food colouring shades together?
- What if you used orange juice and grape juice instead of water?
- See if you could make a rainbow flower by splitting the steam and putting each strip into a different coloured glass.
Enjoy showing off your hybrids, kids! Go back to school with an awesome story to tell about how you invented a flower this holiday. And don’t forget to tell your friends about the importance of clean water for our flowers and their gravity-defying superpower.
Life is a Garden is the marketing division of The South African Nursery Association (SANA).