An old-fashioned favourite of Sydney gardeners, Fuchsia magellanica comes from South America and seems eminently at home in our climate. It has dainty, slender flowers with red sepals and purple petals and when it is in full bloom, literally hundreds of flowers cover the shrub. Although it can potentially grow quite tall (to 3 m!), it generally reaches about 1.5m in a home garden. Like all Fuchsia, it prefers moist but well-drained soil, though it is said to tolerate dryness quite well. This particular species is quite tough and can be grown in full sun or part shade. Very dense shade is not desirable as it will inhibit flowering. The shrub benefits from being pruned in late winter and likes some general purpose fertilise once or twice during the season. It is easily propagated from softwood cuttings in spring or autumn. It flowers from late spring until early winter and mixes well with other semi-tropical flowers, such as Salvia, Plectranthus and Justicia. There are some interesting variegated-leaf forms of this Fuchsia, and I have a lovely gold-foliage version.
It is sometimes used as an informal hedge. I have seen it used on the edge of a retaining wall at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, cascading attractively over nearby steps(pictured at left). It is apparently quite hardy to -10 degrees C. If knocked badly by frost, it apparently will regrow from the base in spring.