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  • Lauren A.

How Plants Absorb Water


Celery stalks (the more leaves the better)

  • 3 clear glasses or jars (+extras if you are trying the experiment with other veggies!)

  • Food coloring

  • A pair of safety scissors (to cut ends of celery stalks)

  • Tap water

  • Optional - vegetables such as pieces of cabbage to experiment with!

Activity Steps:

Step 1 ~

First, let’s make sure our workspace is nice and clean! Clear a space on your table, desk or wherever you have enough room to do this experiment.

Then, fill each glass or jar with water - about halfway full. We want to make sure we leave room for the celery stalk to go into the jar!

Grab and fill a couple more jars if you are trying this experiment out with other vegetables!

Step 2: Next, you will add a few drops of food coloring to each jar. Pick a different color for each jar so you can see how the different colors travel through and change the celery!

I chose green, red and blue for my experiment but you can choose any colors you’d like! It is okay to use colors more than once if you are using multiple vegetables!

Step 3:

Then, you will cut about the length of a quarter off the bottom of the celery stalks! This will help the celery to absorb water better because we are cutting off the dry ends of the celery which allows the ends to be fresh and ready to drink water! Do the same thing with any other vegetables you are using! I also used cabbage leaves in my experiment so I cut the ends off of those as well. You can use safety scissors to cut the celery stalks and vegetables or ask a parent or adult to help you cut the ends off with a kitchen knife.

Step 4: Next, you will place a celery stalk in each jar of colored water. I recommend using celery stalks with the most leaves as these will show the most color!

The lighter the celery stalk is in the middle, the more color will show as well!

Place other vegetables in their own jars if you are trying this experiment with multiple vegetables - that way you can examine each vegetable by itself to see what happens!

Step 5: Then, set a timer for 3 hours and wait. After the timer goes off, check on your celery stalks! When you come back and look at the celery, check to see what has happened during that time. Did the colors on the leaves change?

Step 6: Next, you can leave the celery overnight in the jars of colored water and check on them again the next day. Are the colors on the leaves more visible?

The celery is continuing to absorb water through the bottom of their stalks where it then travels up the tiny tubes inside and through to the leaves!

Step 7: This step is optional! You can leave the celery stalks in the jars again for another night (or even two!) and observe the results the next day!


You just learned how plants absorb water - through their roots! This is a process called osmosis. Plants get the most amount of water when we give it to them at their roots, rather than their leaves. Once we examine the celery after several hours, we can see that water traveled from the glass, up the celery stock and into the leaves which allowed them to change colors! This is called capillary action - the water traveled up the small tubes of the celery and into the leaves at the top! This is how all plants get their water and distribute it to other parts of the plant.

~ Made by Lauren A.

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