Sometimes called the Chinese rain bell, this shrubby plant is a member of the broad Acanthaceae family, most of which flourish very well in Sydney gardens. Like most of its relatives, it will grow in shady places, in very ordinary soil. It is now known botanically as Strobilanthese cusia but was previously called Strobilanthes flaccidifolia. Growing to about 1.5-2 m in height, it comes into bloom in autumn and continues into winter. It has a weeping habit and the many soft pinkish-purple flowers are like little trumpets. It can also grow in sunny spots, but is valuable in bringing colour to shady parts of the garden at a difficult time of year. Suitable companions include some of the many Plectranthus species, which also flower in autumn; shrubby Begonia, which continue to flower from summer into late autumn; or some of the silvery-leaved Billbergia cultivars which form a good clump in shaded spots. Strobilanthes cusia needs to be cut back in late winter to keep it shapely, and can be given some fertiliser at this time also. It strikes readily from cuttings.