Salix purpurea is also known as blue arctic willow, basket willow and purple osier willow. It is an indigenous plant to Asia, northern Africa, Japan and Europe. Salix purpurea is a fast-growing, medium-sized shrub, growing approximately 8 to 10 feet tall, and is hardy in the Zones 3 to 6. Although not of outstanding ornamental significance, salix purpurea is often grown for its use in weaving baskets, giving it the name of basket willow. Plant a salix purpurea in full sun, to partial shade, and make sure it provides plenty of moist soil.
Dig a planting hole that is twice the width and depth of the salix purpureas growing container. Pour 2 to 3 gallons of water into the hole, or enough so the hole is approximately half-full of water. Scoop in a few shovelfuls of soil back into the hole.
Remove the salix purpurea from its growing container. If the salix purpurea is growing in a 1-gallon pot, turn the pot upside down. Hold the salix purpurea near the base of its trunk, while you tap along the rim of the pot using your trowel. If it is growing in a pot that is larger than 1 gallon, hold the salix purpurea by the base of its trunk. Strike downwards around the rim of the pot using a small block of wood, or similar object. Then, remove the pot from its root system. Check the root system of the salix purpurea. If it appears bound, or the roots are encircled, loosen them using your fingers.
Place the salix purpurea into the previously dug planting hole. The salix purpurea should be sitting at approximately the same level it was growing in its original container. If necessary, add more soil to the hole until you are certain it's sitting at the correct level. Also, make sure the salix purpurea is sitting level and straight in the hole.
Scoop in soil around the root system of the salix purpurea. Once the hole is about half-full of soil, start tamping it down using a trowel, the shovel, or your feet. Continue filling the hole with soil until the hole is well filled with soil.
Create a 2 to 3 inch high circular dam of dirt about 18 to 24 inches in diameter around your salix purpurea. Water the salix purpurea thoroughly. Let the water run slowly and accumulate in the circular dam so it will sink down to the root system.