These bizarre plants inhabit bogs in many parts of the world. Leaves vary from narrow and arching to almost round, but all are covered with small hairs that hold drops of sticky liquid. These hairs trap and digest the insects that land on them, providing nutrients not found in the soil where it grows. All species bear small, five-petaled flowers.
Care for sundews as you would Venus's flytrap (Dionaea muscipula); the two can be grown indoors and make good companions for a terrarium. Outdoors, they thrive in full sun and constantly moist, peaty soil. Be sure to purchase only nursery-propagated plants that are grown from seed, division, or tissue culture; buying wild-collected plants depletes native populations.
D. brevifolia. DWARF SUNDEW. Native from Virginia south to Florida and west to East Texas. Small, low-growing plant, forming a rosette only 12 in. across. Spoon-shaped, -in.-long leaves are covered with red hairs. White or pink blossoms about in. wide appear atop 3- to 6-in.-tall stems in summer.
D. capillaris. PINK SUNDEW. Same native range as D. brevifolia. Forms a tight rosette of short-stemmed, rounded, reddish leaves, each 1 in. long. Pink, -in.-wide flowers bloom in summer on stems 216 in. tall.
D. filiformis. THREADLEAF SUNDEW. Native to the Coastal Plains from South Carolina to Florida, west to Louisiana. Reddish, threadlike, 4- to 10-in.-long leaves grow upright, unfurling like the fiddlehead of a fern. Blooms in spring, bearing lavender, 58-in.-wide blossoms on stems 39 in. tall.
D. rotundifolia. ROUND-LEAFED SUNDEW. Native to bogs throughout North America. Grows 13 in. wide, with rounded, -in. leaves on thin stems; leaves turn from green to bright red in sun. White to pink flowers, in. wide, on stems reaching 212 in. tall; blooms from summer to early fall. One of the easier sundews to grow.