Lagerstroemia indica

Lagerstroemia indica  'Filligree' cultivars
Hardy Crape Myrtle

photo courtesy Greenleaf Nursery

There's a great plant in the Fleming Slope garden: The Lagerstroemia indica or Crape Myrtle 'Filli' cultivars. These stunning mid-summer bloomers are the result of a breeding program by Lincoln's own Fleming brothers--James, Robert, and David. These cultivars (Red, Coral, Violet are available) are a useful addition to the garden: they give us a shot of color after the first flush of spring blomers is finished which continues for many weeks, they are a woody plant of low, compact growth (18"), and they add to our plant pallette a species not heretofore hardy in our zone.

The Basics:
height: 18" except the Violet which grows to 12"
colors: red, violet, coral
bloom time: mid July>
zone: 4-9
blooms on new wood
fall color: Coral and Red leaves have a purplish tint

While purported to be hardy to -30C°, I have found that mulching the crowns before winter can help their survival rate.

American Nurseryman
The Fleming brothers

I offer here a slightly abridged version of the acutal plant patent for 'Red Filli' (click here to download a PDF of this patent ):

United States Patent
Zwetzig ,   et al.
December 9, 2003

Crape Myrtle plant named Red Filli

A new and distinct cultivar of dwarf winter hardy Lagerstroemia plant named `Red Filli` is the result of a unique hybridization. This new and distinct cultivar is characterized primarily as to novelty by its extreme cold hardiness to Zone 4, its numerous sturdy bright red blooms, its compact spreading performance with heavy branching, its vigorous and uniform growth habit, and its floriferous nature form midsummer until frost.

Zwetzig; Gretchen (Lincoln, NE), Fleming; David Whitman (late of Lincoln
Appl. No.:
September 10, 2001

Current U.S. Class:
Current International Class:
A01H 005/00 ()
Field of Search:

Primary Examiner: Bell; Kent


I claim:

1. A new and distinct cultivar of Lagerstroemia plant, as herein shown and described, characterized by its beautiful red flowers and refined foliage, its dwarf and compact spreading action, its vigor, and its extreme hardiness.


Genus/species: Lagerstroemia indica:

Varietal denomination; `Red Filli`.


The new plant of this invention is the result of a unique hybridization, with the breeding achievement being evidenced in the outstanding combination of characteristics exhibited by this new and distinct Crape Myrtle (`Red Filli` Lagerstroemia indica) plant, which include: (a) The plant being very refined and floriferous with flowers that are outstanding for their wide bright red blooms that compliment the landscape; (b) The plant being dwarf, but vigorous, with compact and uniformly spiraling spreading action which gives it unique landscape utility; (c) The plant being very floriferous with flowers that stay open at least 2 full days; (d) The plant being so hardy that it can consistently withstand winter temperatures of at least -30 degrees Fahrenheit.


`Red Filli` was the result of a 40-year breeding program. Its ancestry includes various seedlings of Lagerstroemia indica. More specifically, the plant resulted as a selected hardier seedling from the Fleming Crape Myrtle `Filligree` series. `Red Filli` resulted from a cross between two unnamed/unpatented Fleming L. indica plants.

This new plant first bloomed in the summer of 1978 and was selected by David Fleming and Gretchen Zwetzig on David Fleming's property in Lincoln, Nebr. The plant was observed here under typical conditions for Nebraska, at approximately 3 years of age. Asexual propagation of the plant by cuttings and root division in Lincoln, Nebr., has shown that the unique and distinguishing features of the plant are faithfully transmitted from generation to generation and appear to be fixed. `Red Filli` reproduces true to type in successive generations of asexual reproduction.

Since its origin, the plant has bloomed from midsummer until frost, while exhibiting the above-mentioned distinctive characteristics. This hardy Crape Myrtle plant contributes to the market with its sheer beauty, its compact Growth habit, its great resistance to disease and insects, its stability through extremes in rain and drought, and its Extreme hardiness.


The flower, bud, foliage, and growth habit of the plant are shown in the attached illustrations. More specifically,

Sheet 1 depicts the growth habit of the cultivar from the ground up to the top of the plant.

Sheet 2 shows a close-up of the blooms and foliage. The colors are as true as is reasonably possible to attain in photographic illustrations of this type. The colors illustrated may be slightly off due to light reflectance.


What follows is a detailed description of the new cultivar. The specific color designations set forth by PLATE and number designations are in accordance with the Dictionary of Color (Mearz and Paul), while general color recitations are consistent with ordinary American color terminology.

`Red Filli` has not been observed under all possible environmental conditions. It is to be understood that the phenotype may vary significantly with variations in the environment such as temperature, light intensity, and day length, without, however any difference in genotype of the plant. The following botanical characteristics and observations are taken from a 3 year old plant when grown under normal outdoor conditions in Lincoln, Nebr.


The new Crape Myrtle plant differs from the seed parent and pollen parent in the following ways:

TABLE 1 Unnamed Fleming Unnamed Flem- `Red Filli` L. indica ing L. indica Width: 2 ft. 3 ft. 31/2 ft. Height: 11/2 ft. 3 ft. 4 ft. Form: Near flat globe globe upright Hardiness: -30 degrees -25 degrees -25 degrees Fahrenheit Fahrenheit Fahrenheit Branching: Compact, thick Medium length Medium length No. of flowers 40 25 30-32 per day per season: Tree performance: From spreading to flat spreading. Tree form: Flat globe. Tree height: Dwarf, about 11/2 feet. Tree width: 11/2-2 ft. Type of trunk: Single trunk with approximately 20 to 50 spreading branches. Trunk color: Brown. 8-C, page 37, PLATE 7. Branches: Color.--Brown. 2-C, page 37, PLATE 7. Thickness.--3 cm. Average length.--6-10 inches. Branching habit.--Heavy; 20 to 50 branches in average on main trunk. Internode length.--About 1/2 inch, 11/2 cm. Foliage: Leaves (lamina).--Compact, elliptical with rounded apex and base. Margin.--Entire. Average leaf length.--About 11/2 inches, 31/4 cm. Average leaf width.--About 3/4 inch, 2 cm. Color immature.--Slightly darker than 5-L, page 69, PLATE 23. Upper surface of mature leaf.--Same as immature leaf color. Underside of mature leaf.--5-B, page 67, PLATE 22. Color change.--Purplish. Luster.--Dull sheen. Petiole.--Green. 5-B, page 67, PLATE 22. Length.--1 cm. Flower: Pedicel length.--0.5 cm. Pedicel color.--6-G, page 65, PLATE 21. Bud shape.--Rotund to trapezoidal. Bud length.--1/2 inch. Bud width.--1/2 inch. Bud color.--5-H, page 35, PLATE 6. Cluster.--Conic, broad. Inflorescence.--11 flowers on average per cluster. Type.--Cluster. Bloom diameter.--13/4 inches, 41/2 cm. Number of flowers.--50 on average per inflorescence. Shape or form.--Single, six petals. Fragrance.--Slight. Petals: Color (for both surfaces).--Slightly lighter than 1-L, page 113, PLATE 45. Shape.--Orbiculate with a strong wave. Petal length.--1 inch. Petal apex.--Rounded. Petal width.--3/4 inch, 11/2 cm. Petal margin.--Smooth or entire. Persistence of individual bloom.--2 days. Base.--Connate. Reproductive organs: Style.--Pale-red. Pistil.--One. Filaments.--Light red. Anthers.--Yellow. Stamens.--30 to 35 arranged around the pistil. Pollen.--Scarce. Pollen color.--1-L, page 43, PLATE 10. Fruit: Shape.--Rotund; apex 1/2 cm in width. Color.--Green when immature, matures to purple. Seeds: Color.--Grayish-brown. Size.--1/4 cm. Growth: Habit.--Dwarf, about 11/2 feet. Blooming period.--July until October. Hardiness: Hardy to at least -30 degrees Fahrenheit, or Zone 4. General health: Plant is very disease resistant; very pest resistant; sturdy through excessive drought or water. Time it takes to produce "finished" plant: 2 years for apx. 5 gallon plant.


This plant, as a hybridized hardy Lagerstroemia, is valuable to the landscape market for its improvements in different colored, outstanding flowers, refined foliage, compact and uniform breaking action, all-around vigor, and adaptation to extreme environments, including the ability to consistently survive winter temperatures of at least -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

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David Fleming
David Fleming