Chemical Garden

From salt crystals, descended into the solution, colored tubes that resemble algae grow

Scientific name: The resulting transition metal silicates form chemical algae by osmosis


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Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

CaCl2 + Na2SiO3 → CaSiO3 + 2NaCl

CuSO4 + Na2SiO3 → CuSiO3 + Na2SO4

NiSO4 + Na2SiO3 → NiSiO3 + Na2SO4

CoCl2 + Na2SiO3 → CoSiO3 + 2NaCl

MnCl2 + Na2SiO3 → MnSiO3 + 2NaCl

2FeCl3 + 3Na2SiO3 + 6H2O → 2Fe(OH)3 + 3H2SiO3 +6NaCl

2CrCl3 + 3Na2SiO3 + 6H2O → 2Cr(OH)3 + 3H2SiO3 +6NaCl

2CuSO4 + Na2SiO3 + 2H2O → Cu2(OH)2SO4 + H2SiO3 + Na2SO4


Step-by-step instruction

  1. Fill the beaker with 50 ml of silicate glue and the same amount of water.
  2. Mix it.
  3. Carefully put crystals of salt on the bottom of the glass.
  4. Watch the growth of thread.

Scientific background

Crystals of immersed salts follow air bubbles and stretch into thin hollow tube whose walls consist of the formed precipitation. The tube is a semipermeable membrane (septum), through which water penetrates. Osmosis occurs. As a result, in some places the tube breaks. Precipitate forms again in place of the gap. "Thickets" appear, resembling trees or algae. The color of algae depends on the metal. Copper salts give blue algae, cobalt - blue, magnesium, aluminum and zinc - white, nickel - light green, iron (III) - brown, chromium - green, "manganese" algae grow white at first, but eventually turn brown, iron salts (II) give a dark-green algae, which then also becomes brown (in both cases the color change is the result of oxidation).


Published on 10 March 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst