How to Make Rainbow Carnations with Food Coloring

How to make your carnations look like a rainbow with a simple trick
Carnations can change their color by absorbing dye through their stems. You can make your own rainbow carnations at home with some food coloring and water.


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For those in a hurry

  • You can change the color of white carnations by soaking them in water with food coloring.
  • You can make rainbow carnations by splitting the stem and placing each part in a different colored water.
  • This is a fun and easy experiment to learn about plant biology and color mixing.

What you need

  • White carnations (fresh and not wilted)
  • Food coloring (red, yellow, blue and green)
  • Water
  • Small glasses or jars
  • Knife or scissors

What to do

Step 1: Prepare the water

  • Fill each glass half full with water.
  • Add 20 to 30 drops of food coloring to each glass. Stir well.
  • You can use more or less food coloring depending on how bright you want the colors to be.

Step 2: Cut the stems

  • Cut the end of each carnation stem at an angle. This will help the water flow better.
  • For some carnations, you can split the stem lengthwise with a knife. This will allow you to create multicolored flowers.

Step 3: Place the flowers in the water

  • Place one carnation in each glass of colored water. Make sure the stem is well submerged.
  • For the split stems, place each part in a different colored water. You can use rubber bands or string to hold the glasses together.

Step 4: Wait and watch

  • Observe the changes in the petals over time. It may take from an hour to a day for the colors to show up.
  • Notice how the colors mix and create new shades.

What’s happening

  • The carnations are absorbing water through their stems. The water travels up to the petals and changes their color.
  • The food coloring is dissolved in the water. It acts as a dye that stains the petals.
  • The split stems allow the water to flow into different parts of the flower. This creates a rainbow effect.