coloured rose experiment

Rainbow Roses

The rose experiment was designed from cuttings off our white roses. During Winter, our rose bushes love to be trimmed often. They produce more roses when they are trimmed, so it made me think about using the roses with my little ones for a rose experiment.

Here’s what you will need:

  • white flowers (doesn’t need to be roses)
  • food colouring
  • water
  • clear cups or recycled glass jars


  1. Pour the water into each jar.
  2. Take turns pouring different food colouring into each jar. Purple will need more red than blue and to make orange it will need more yellow than red.

3. Place a white flower into each coloured jar.

4. Set aside on a shady shelf.


Discuss a hypothesis with your child/ren. Ask them questions like: “what do you think will happen to the flowers?” or “I wonder if the colour might make them change colour? What do you think?”

This is a test of patience as much as it is a white rose test. Check back once a day to see the progress.


What we didn’t expect in this experiment was that when we trialled purple it pulled red and blue separately. It has pulled spots of blue and red rather than having a purple rose which was pretty interesting.

It also seems that the more food colouring the better the results were.


Scientific reasoning and communication for science is a good way of setting up your child to understand educational terms. On the practical side children build higher order thinking skills having to predict what could happen to the roses before the roses could change colour.

We also talked about what we would do differently next time. For example: trying different colours and making the coloured water more concentrated. Yes! Explaining larger words like concentrated, diluted, hypothesis, analysis can all be used in early childhood to broaden their word knowledge. When they ask me a question I try and take a little more time to explain their definitions each time we do an experiment.

Hope you’re excited to try our rose experiment!

Written By Sarah Courtney

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