Sundew Plant Information


Small, insectivorous bog plants, Sundews trap and digest insects. Several species grow throughout the United States, capturing their prey in sticky, hairlike leaf structures. Bogs are nutrient-poor environments, and the plants obtain nutrients from their insect diet.


Glandular leaf hairs secrete a sticky substance that attracts small insects. When triggered, the leaves enfold the prey. Secreted enzymes digest the insect, and the plant ingests the nutrients through its leaves.


Sundews eat flies, midges and fruit flies. Larger species may dine on spiders, mosquitoes and butterflies.

Growth Habit

Low-growing sundews range from 1 to 8 inches in height. Flowers appear on slender 12-inch stalks.


Hardy to zone 3, sundews grow best in full sun but tolerate full shade. They prefer wet, peaty, acidic soil with a pH between 4.0 to 5.0.


Sundews are widely distributed. They grow in bogs, swamps and stream or pond perimeters. Species are found all over the U.S. as well as Greenland, Europe, Asia, South Africa and South America.


  • Natural History of the Northwoods: Sundew
  • NC State Univ: Sundew
Keywords: sundew, bog plant, insectivorous

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Moira Clune is a freelance writer who since 1991 has been writing sales and promotional materials for her own and other small businesses. In addition, she has published articles on VetInfo and various other websites. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hartwick College.