Science Corner: Rainbow celery

Science Corner

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Have you ever wondered how water and nutrients go from a plant’s roots to a plant’s leaves? This happens through a process called capillary action. Let’s make rainbow celery to demonstrate this! 


  1. Celery (with leaves)
  2. Glass cups (mason jars or anything see-through) 
  3. Food coloring


  1. Fill glasses (however many you want to make) a little more than halfway full with water
  2. Add about 10 drops of food coloring to each class so each glass is a different color 
  3. Cut a little bit off the end of each celery stalk
  4. Add one celery stalk to each cup 
  5. Watch! It took me 24 hours to see super clear results. 


When you water a plant or it rains, the water falls at the base of the plant. But how does the water and the other nutrients get to the rest of the plant? It happens through a process called capillary action. Capillary action is the process of a liquid moving upward through a narrow space against gravity. How does this happen in plants? Plants have fibers inside them that the water is attracted to. So these fibers push the water up through the plant’s stem and into its leaves. You can really see that in this experiment… Especially in the leaves, you can see the colors seeping through that came up through the fibers in the celery stalk. The food coloring ultimately represents the nutrients that dissolve into the soil and water. Just like you saw the food coloring being dispersed through the whole plant, so is anything that is dissolved in the soil and water. 

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