Celery Food Coloring Experiment: DIY Science Project Ideas for Kids

Have you ever wondered if celery can be any other color than green? Is it possible to have blue or red celery? Yes. With the celery food coloring experiment, you’ll be able to make your own rainbow-colored celery. Kids often have trouble understanding their science lessons.

Performing such science experiments for kids helps them understand complicated science concepts like capillary action. Additionally, this celery food coloring experiment also helps kids understand how plants absorb water.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Celery Food Coloring Experiment

Here is a step-by-step guide to performing the celery food coloring science experiment:

What You’ll Need?

Performing the celery food coloring experiment is very simple and needs very few things. Here is a list of things you’ll need to perform the experiment:

  1. 6 Mason jars
  2. Leafy celery stalks
  3. Red, blue, green, pink, purple and orange food coloring (you can use any food coloring of your choice)
  4. Water
  5. Spoon
  6. Knife
  7. Pen and paper

How to Perform Celery Food Experiment for Kids?

Follow these directions to perform the experiment and create your own rainbow celery stalks.

  1. Fill each of the mason jars with water until it’s half full. 
  2. Add 2 drops of red food coloring into the 1st jar and 2 drops of blue food coloring into the 2nd jar. Similarly, add 2 drops each of the green, pink, purple and orange food coloring into the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th jars. 
  3. Trim the ends of the celery stalks and place one stalk in each of the jars. 
  4. Place the jars by a window or a place with good sunlight for a few hours.
  5. Check after 3-4 hours and see if there’s any change in the celery stalks. Note down the changes.
  6. Now, let the jars sit undisturbed overnight and check them the next morning. Note down the changes.

What You’ll See?

After 3 – 4 hours, you’ll notice that part of the celery stalks have changed color. When you check the celery stalks the next morning, you’ll notice a significant change in the color of the celery stalks. The stalk and leaves would’ve changed color and turned the same color as the liquid in the jars. 

Remove one of the stalks from water and cut it in half. You’ll notice that there are several colored dots inside of the celery stalk. These are the tubes that absorbed the water and transported it to the leaves. 

Science Behind Celery Food Coloring Experiment

So, how did we end up with rainbow colored celery stalks? Let’s learn the science behind the celery food coloring experiment to understand why the celery stalks changed color.

  1. Why did the celery stalks change color?
  2. The celery stalks changed color because the stalks absorbed the colored water. 

    Celery stalks are made up of tiny tubes called xylem. And not only celery stalks, these tubes are present in all plants. The celery stalks absorb the colored water, which travels through the xylem to the leaves. This phenomenon is called capillary action. A plant’s roots absorb water from the soil, which then travels through the xylem to every part of the plant by capillary action. 

  3. What is capillary action?
  4. Capillary action is the process by which nutrients, water or any liquid moves through something solid or a material with a lot of holes. The liquids are usually transported through structures like tiny tubes or straws using forces of cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension. 

    Capillary action is how plants transport water absorbed by the roots to other parts of the plant. Similarly, our bodies also use capillary action to move the blood to all parts of our body. 

  5. What are the tiny colored dots you see in the celery stalk, when you cut it?
  6. The tiny, colored dots that you see in the cross-section of the celery stalk that is cut are called xylem. These are the tube-like or straw-like structures that transport the colored water up the celery stalk to the leaves. The xylem, which is in every plant, transports water and nutrients to all the parts of the plant.

How to Perform Rainbow Celery Science Experiment?

Still curious about capillary action and the rainbow-colored celery stalks? Then you should definitely go a little further and experiment more with the celery stalks. 

What You’ll Need:

  1. 1 celery stalk with lots of leaves
  2. 3 mason jars with red, blue and green colored water
  3. Knife

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Take the knife and split the celery stalk lengthwise. Cut it only about halfway up the stalk, so you can divide it into 3 parts. ( You can use any of the stalks you used in the experiment above.)
  2. Place one part of the celery stalk in each of the 3 mason jars with the red, blue and green colored water.
  3. Let it sit for 24 hours, then check the celery stalk. How colorful is it? Do you see a magical, tri-colored celery stalk? What colors are the leaves? Note down your observations.

Check our kids learning section for more experiments, activities and other learning resources.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Celery Food Coloring Experiment

What does the celery food coloring science experiment show?

The celery food coloring experiment shows capillary action. It helps us understand how plants move water through the xylem in their stem to the other parts of the plant.

What do you need for the celery water food coloring experiment?

For the celery food coloring science experiment, you’ll need celery stalks with lots of leaves, food coloring, water, and mason jars.