Mother’s Day Colorful Carnations: Discovery at Home

Mother’s Day STEAM: Colorful Carnations!

Get mom just what she wants for Mother’s Day this year: science! This fun flower coloring experiment is both fun and beautiful. Once you've tried this at home, come by the Kansas Children's Discovery Center for more STEAM fun!

Questions you can ask with this experiment:

  • How do flowers drink water?
  • Does gravity help the flower drink?
  • What two colors can you mix to make a new color?
  • Why do flowers need water?

Supplies needed:

  • 3+ white carnations
  • Four small vases or glasses
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Sharp scissors (and an adult to help use them)

Fill each vase with water. Put a few drops of a color of your choice of food coloring in two of the vases.

Cut about one inch off the bottom of each carnation at approximately a 45 degree angle.

Put one carnation into a vase with clear water for a control. Put another carnation into a vase with colored water.

Cut the third carnation starting at the bottom, creating two equal sides that are about three inches in length, leaving the rest of the stem towards the flower, intact.

Wait a few days, observe and reflect!

Had fun? Try some variations to observe similarities and differences:

  • Try it with colored carnations
  • Try putting the carnations in a sunny window and a dark room
  • Try different flowers
  • Try different types of liquids