Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

Contact Address

3550 Ashley River Road
Charleston, SC   29414

Hours of Operation

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is open 365 days a year, including all major holidays.

From November through February, we are open from 8:30 am until 4:30 pm, with ticket sales ending at 4:00 pm. Sunday, March 10, through October hours are 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 pm.

Phone 843-571-1266

About the Garden
Thomas Drayton and his wife Ann arrived from Barbados to the new English colony of Charles Towne and established Magnolia Plantation along the Ashley River in 1679. Thomas and Ann were the first in a direct line of Magnolia family ownership that has lasted more than 300 years and continues to this day.

Magnolia Plantation saw immense wealth and growth through the cultivation of rice during the Colonial era. Later, British and American troops would occupy its grounds during the American Revolution, while the Drayton sons would become both statesmen and soldiers fighting against British rule.

The establishment of the early gardens at Magnolia Plantation in the late 17th century would see an explosion of beauty and expansion throughout the 18th century, but it was not until the early 19th century did the gardens at Magnolia truly begin to expand on a grand scale.

About the Camellia Collection
Total number of camellia plants:   25,000
Number of distinct camellia cultivars or species: 2,500

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is a prestigious International Camellia Garden of Excellence. 20,000 Camellias are on display from Mid-November to April. There are ov er 6,500 camellia sasanquas blooming in November and December. Japonicas are profuse mid-January to mid March. There are over 1,000 cultivars of japonica, more than any garden in America. The garden offers free camellia walks ever day from November to March.

The camellia collection was the most extensive in America before the Civil War. In 1854 the Rev. John Grimke-Drayton wrote: "I have discovered that there were a hundred and twenty double varieties there. How many singles, semi-doubles, peony forms and others, I do not pretend to know. I can only describe their number as Legion."

Ancient Camellias (pre-1900) are a specialty at Magnolia. Not only did Magnolia introduce over 150 cultivars of japonica to America from the 1840's to 1940's, but it has organized and implemented a world-wide search for ancient camellias which are in threat of extinction.