We had excess food dye left over from our Advanced Potion Making Class so we decided to try the coloured-water absorption experiment with cabbage leaves. You can use other plants, like celery or flowers, but the effect is clearest when you use a light coloured plant, like chinese cabbage or white daisies. We didn’t have easy access to white flowers so we used chinese cabbage.
What you will need:
- chinese cabbage
- three containers
- food dye – we used blue, red and yellow
Add a little food dye to each container and dilute with water. Place one cabbage leaf in each container. Wait and watch.
Our food dye colours from left to right: red, yellow, blue. I know the yellow looks orange but it really is yellow food dye. Watch the colour spread as the liquid is absorbed up through the cabbage leaf. To get a better effect, leave your experiment overnight and check in again the next morning.
This simple experiment is a terrific illustration of how plants take in water and nutrients up through their stems. You can also try this with flowers – the effect is quite lovely.
You can also watch this experiment, complete with explanations, in the following video: