Science project

Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh

Difficulty of Project


Approximate Cost


Safety Issues

Be careful when dealing with anything glass.  Take caution if glass breaks not to cut yourself.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

1-2 hours


Do cut flowers last longer in warm or in cold water?

Project Goals
  • Put the two carnations in warm water with blue food coloring to see how fast the plant absorbs the water.
  • Put two carnations in cold water with red food coloring to see how fast the plant absorbs the water.
  • Is warm or cold water best for cut flowers?

Materials and Equipment

  • 6 Carnations
  • 2 vases/jars/glass bottles
  • Red and blue food coloring (or any two colors of your choice)
  • Pencil and paper
  • Camera (optional)
Where can the materials be found?

The carnations can be purchased at a florist or grocery store.  The food coloring is found at a grocery store as well.


Cut flowers are beautiful when new.  What is the best way to keep them looking fresh?  Will they last longer in warm water, or will they keep longer in cold water?  With white carnations and food coloring we should be able to find out the best way to keep our cuts flowers looking their best!

Research Questions
  • Will warm water allow cut flowers to last longer?
  • Is cold water the best way to keep cut flowers longer?

Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research

You will watch the food coloring travel to the petals of the plant.  Which color will travel faster, the color in the warm water or the color in the cold water?

Experimental Procedure

  1. Gather your supplies.
  2. Take three cut carnations and place them in a vase of cold water.
  3. Take another three carnations and place them in a vase of warm water.
  4. At the same time add blue food coloring to the warm water and red food coloring to the cold water.  Label the vases warm and cold so you know color to add to which vase.
  5. Observe the white carnations.  Which one absorbs the water with the food coloring first?  This will determine which temperature is drinking the water faster.
  6. Take notes as you watch the progress.
  7. Take pictures as well.


  1. Blue Cloud Studios Carnations (picture)
  2. Yahoo Answers "What works best with cut flowers..."
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