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Colour a Carnation!

Where does the water really go when a plant is watered?

Our mini Scientist age 6-7 have discovered how essential the functions of stems are for plant growth. They have been experimenting with creating different-coloured flowers using the ability to absorb water through its stem.  As the coloured water is absorbed, they were able to see how it moved into the flower and were amazed when the petals of a white carnation changed colour!

How does it work? Most plants “drink” water from the ground through their roots. The water travels up the stem of the plant into the leaves and flowers where it makes food and helps keep the plant rigid. When a flower is cut off the plant, it no longer has its roots but the stem of the flower still “drinks” up the water and provides it to the leaves and flowers. Colouring the water with food colouring does not harm the plant but it allows you to see the movement of water into the flower. Splitting the stem simply proves that the tiny tubes in the stem run all the way through the stem from the water to the petals of the flowers. Our unofficial tests indicated that the blue food colour went up the carnations the fastest, followed by the red and then the green food colours.

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