The Great Celery Experiment

Have you ever wondered how plants get water from down in the ground up into their leaves?

This experiment will help you understand how it works.


  • 1 celery stalk, leaves attached
  • 1 tablespoon of food coloring
  • 1/2 a glass of water
  • a small paring knife


  1. Fill half of the glass with water.
  2. Add the food coloring to the water and stir until evenly mixed.
  3. Cut about 3 cm from the bottom of the celery stalk.
  4. Stand the celery stalk in the glass, with the leaves sticking up.
  5. Wait overnight.

The next day, ask yourself these questions:

  • Were there any changes over night?
  • How do you know that the water moved from the glass up into the celery?
  • How does water get from the ground, or in the glass, up into the leaves?
  • Why do plants need water?

Further exploration

Remove the celery stalk from the cup and cut another centimetre off the bottom.

Look for small circles at the bottom of the stalk - they will be the color of the food coloring you used.

Those tiny circles are tubes called xylem. Xylem are like straws that suck up water and nutrients and carry them around the plant.

Water is very important for plants. Plants need water to grow, to stand strong and tall, and to make their food. Click here to learn what kind of food plants eat.

Did you enjoy this activity? Check out Grow it Again! and learn how to turn a sweet potato into a house plant for more fun with food!