Dyeing flowers was always one of my favorite science fair projects, so when we added a white carnation plant to our backyard this spring I knew that this simple science lesson wasn't far off. The boys and I were really anxious and excited to see if our flowers would actually change color since we had bad luck with the last batch of store bought flowers that we tried. We started with a few white carnation (stems freshly cut at a 45 degree angle) and placed them into water that we had dyed blue with food coloring.
The boys wondered how long the process would take, and we didn't have to wait long for them to find out the answer. Within an hour the tips of the flowers began to take on a blueish tint, and the bees in the garden seemed to take notice as well!
After a couple of hours we brought the flowers indoors since it had gotten really windy outside. The tips of the petals were noticeably blue, and the few bright colored specks that were originally pink had turned purple.
After 24 hours the color absorbption had maxed out, and this is the most blue that the flower became. Next time I might try using a knife instead of shears to cut the flowers since it may treat the capillaries more delicately and help avoid crushing them for better water flow and brighter all-over color.
We read this article on ehow that helped me to explain to the boys how plants absorb and move water through their system. We got some fun ideas from the articles that we read online as well as Sawyer's school homework, and next we're going to try making rainbow roses!