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How to Use Food Coloring to Dye Roses

By Kelly Sundstrom
Adding food coloring to roses adds an interesting touch of color.
rose rose image by Freddy Smeets from Fotolia.com

Dying a rose is a great way to teach children about how the capillaries in the stem carry water to the flower. Dying a rose is not only educational for children, but watching the rose change colors is fun and exciting as well. In order to successfully carry out the experiment, it is important to select a rose that has already bloomed, but is not fully matured. This will allow the rose time to soak up the food coloring without wilting.

Cutting the stem helps the food coloring enter the petals.
red rose image by Rob Hill from Fotolia.com

Fill a tall vase halfway up with water. Snip the end of a rose diagonally while holding it under running water. Insert the rose into the tall vase of water. Snipping the end of the stem while holding it under water keeps the capillaries open and receptive to the food coloring.

Adding more food coloring makes the color in the petals darker.
Beaker With Blue Liquid image by explicitly from Fotolia.com

Drop 2 tsp. of food coloring into the vase, and use a long spoon to mix the water thoroughly. The coloring should be very dark. Add more food coloring as needed if the water appears too light.

Adding sugar helps the coloring get to the petals more quickly.
sugar image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com

Add in 2 tbsp. of sugar into the vase, and mix it in with a long spoon. The sugar will help carry the food coloring up into the capillaries more quickly so that the rose will start to show color faster than it normally would.

The longer the rose stays in the colored water, the more colored the rose will be.
colored rose image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com

Leave the rose sitting in the colored water for at least three days in order to soak the food coloring into the petals of the rose. The longer the rose sits in the water, the more colorful the petals will be. It can be fun to try out different color combinations. For example, yellow roses dyed with blue food coloring will produce green coloration on the petals. Red roses dyed with blue food coloring will produce purple coloration on the petals.


Things You Will Need

  • Long-stemmed rose
  • Tall vase
  • Food coloring
  • Kitchen shears
  • Sugar
  • Spoon
  • Water