The South Carolina Botanical Garden began in 1958 when a camellia collection on the Clemson University campus was moved to make way for construction. Since that time, many others have been added, and the collection now contains more than 300 cultivars, or cultivated varieties.
Although there are 60 species of Camellia, the Japanese camellias, C. japonica, and the sasanqua camellia, C. sasanqua, are the species most often grown in the southeast.
Camellia flowers came in white, pink, and many shades of red. Many cultivars have doubled or semi-double flowers. Some Japanese cultivars have distinct flower forms, such as "rose" or "peony".
Sasanqua camellias flower during the fall and early winter, and many cultivars are fragrant. Sasanqua flowers are usually smaller than those of Japanese cultivars. There are a large number of Japanese cultivars to choose from, and they bloom from late fall through early spring.