Area Guide | Seasonal | Nature | Seasonal

Notes from Nature: What’s in Bloom at Kiawah River?

Charleston is a botanical playground year-round. From window boxes on the peninsula to the area’s historic homes and parks, visitors can always find something in bloom in the sea islands. When spring returns each year, it brings with it an abundance of sunshine, crisp coastal breezes and a palate of bright colors and hues from the area’s vibrant blossoms, including wisteria, azaleas, magnolias and many more.

Kiawah River is positioned perfectly for viewing the habitat’s flora and fauna. Situated on 2,000 acres with vast foliage and expansive marsh scenes, many of these iconic spring flowers can either be viewed right on the property or found just a short drive away.

Take a moment to stop and smell the wisteria, azaleas and magnolias from April to June in Charleston and read more about these blooms below:

Wisteria is a genus of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae, that includes 10 different species of woody twining vines native to China, Korea, Southern Canada and the Eastern United States. South Carolina’s native variety is American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens), also known as “Atlantic wisteria.” This beautifully fragrant long-lived vining plant is a true showstopper with cascades of blue and purple flowers that hang from trees, fences and trellises. Atlantic wisteria is plentiful at Kiawah River, but the city’s most famous vine is found on 54 Meeting Street and can be the muse of your new favorite photo on your camera roll.

Known as the “Royals of the Garden,” azaleas are flowering shrubs in the genus Rhododendron and bloom in April and May. These signature Southern plants are a favorite around the globe for its brilliant colors and adaptability to a wide range of soils. Located 45 minutes away from Kiawah River, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens in Charleston was the first garden in America to plant azaleas outside in the 1840s and is now home to over 100,000 of the colorful plants.

Southern Magnolias
Named for French botanist Pierre Magnol, magnolias are a member of the family Magnoliaceae which includes hundreds of species that live around the world. Eight call South Carolina home but Magnolia grandiflora or the “Southern magnolia” is the most common. These grandiose, beautiful trees can grow 50 feet wide and symbolize nobility, perseverance, dignity and a love of nature. Magnolia flowers can be found scattered around Kiawah River in the springtime or even in the wedding bouquets of future brides who are planning weddings on property, starting fall 2023.