The Kilmarnock Willow (Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’) Care Guide

The Kilmarnock Willow, otherwise known as the Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ or Anise-Scented Sage ‘Black & Bloom’, Blue Anise Sage ‘Black & Bloom’, Brazilian Anise Sage ‘Black & Bloom’, is a rather well known perennial plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Kilmarnock Willow Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

In order to take proper care of your Kilmarnock Willow you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Kilmarnock Willow loves moist soil but will still survive dusty soil when it is established.
  • Light: Keep your Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Kilmarnock Willow in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, chalk, and loam.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Kilmarnock Willow will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Kilmarnock Willow plants

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Kilmarnock Willow belongs to the Lamiaceae family, the genus Salvia and the species Guaranitica, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ (SAY-liks KAP-ree-a).

As with other Salvia’s, the Kilmarnock Willow is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Kilmarnock Willow is a plant native to the Uruguay, Brazil Paraguay, and and Argentina.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Kilmarnock Willow is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 8 – 12 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b and the ideal climate zone is between 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Kilmarnock Willow is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Kilmarnock Willow actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ can grow up to 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) and 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm). 

These dimensions make the Kilmarnock Willow a relatively medium perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful weeping shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 36″ (90cm) free so the Kilmarnock Willow can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Kilmarnock Willow is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ loves moist soil but will still survive dusty soil when it is established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Kilmarnock Willow care


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Kilmarnock Willow in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Kilmarnock Willow then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Kilmarnock Willow needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Kilmarnock Willow prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, chalk, and loam.

This is why most experts agree that the Kilmarnock Willow requires soil with high organic matter, and loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Kilmarnock Willow requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Kilmarnock Willow will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Kilmarnock Willow to flower around the summer months from July to September (summer).

In particular, this perennial is well known for its flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Kilmarnock Willow produces some beautiful yellow, or blue and purple/lavender flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Kilmarnock Willow have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a opposite organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Kilmarnock Willow up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Kilmarnock Willow is well known for being able to attract butterflies, birds and hummingbirds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for drought and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Kilmarnock Willow? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Salix Caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ owners agree that this perennial will look great in most contemporary, asian/zen and cottage gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of coastal garden, city and courtyard, and in informal and cottage styles. 

In particular, the Kilmarnock Willow’s best location within your garden is in patio and containers, beds and borders, and in wall-side borders, others use it for landscaping in a specimen, cutting garden, water garden, rock garden, very wet areas, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Kilmarnock Willow’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Forsythia, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Monarda will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Kilmarnock Willow in your garden or home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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