Learning about How Plants Absorb Water
I think most children at one time or another ask, “How do plants drink water?” In this simple experiment kids will watch celery absorb water that has been colored with food dye. They will see the water’s journey as the dye moves through the celery stalk and the leaves turn different colors.
- Celery, the inner leafy stalks work best and are the most dramatic
- Food dye
- Small jars or containers for the celery.
Celery Food Dye Experiment
1. First, explain to your kids that plants draw water and nutrients through their roots into their leaves and stems.
2. Then, place celery stalks into containers of water which have been dyed using food dye.
We used red, blue, and yellow. As you’ll see the yellow didn’t work very well. I think green would have been a better choice. You could also mix your own colors. Purple sounds fun.
3. Mark the side of the jar with a dry erase marker to show the water level.
4. Wait several hours to overnight.
Observe the celery leaves several hours later. I was surprised how quickly a change was evident.
By the next day, the color change was even more striking.
The yellow barely changed color, but you could see a brighter tinge of yellow around the edge. The red was the most obvious. The white flower we put in didn’t change color at all. If you want to try this experiment with flowers, I know that carnations work well.
5. Finally, notice the decrease in water level with your child. This is how much water was either absorbed by the plant or evaporated.
I think your child will love this simple experiment that shows how plants absorb water.
Interesting facts about absorption:
- Vascular plants absorb water through roots and stems. Non-vascular plants, like moss, do not have true roots, stems, and leaves so they grow only in moist areas.
- A tree is able to transport water 30 stories high because of its amazing ability to absorb water.
- On a hot day, a large tree may lose several hundred gallons of water through its leaves.
This post is part of a 10 Day Learning with Nature Series. If you enjoyed this activity, you might want to take a look at the other posts in the series.