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SoFA PLANT UP

SoFA District has a California native plant exhibit

Experience SoFA District’s newly imagined landscape along First St. that offers the public a self guided botanical garden tour decorated with plants native to California. Each planter is installed with QR-code signs that connect visitors and the local community to a smartphone accessible online exhibit. Information in our online exhibit can also serve as a source of information about each plant community’s ecology, history, and cultural significance. 

Each planter exhibit will provide its species names, origins, and description. SoFA District will function as downtown’s creative community as well as showcasing California’s natural beauty.

Planter Themes

Wildflower Grasslands

California’s hills are famous for their decorated wildflowers and grasses. During the spring, these beautiful grasslands emit a wonderful array of colors from orange to purple. California’s state flower, the California Poppy, is one of the most recognizable native plants and is adopted into the California Theater’s historic and iconic sign on First St.
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Redwood Forest

Redwood forests are among the oldest in the world. The redwoods in the Bay Area were also used to construct many early buildings in its surrounding cities and played an integral part in the Bay Area’s development in the 1800’s. In Downtown San Jose, one coastal redwood can be found in Cesar Chavez Park.
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Mountains and Alpine

Many of California’s most iconic breathtaking places include those in the State’s mountain ranges. Famous areas like Yosemite Valley attract visitors from all over the world.
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Chaparral

California’s chaparral landscape is home to many of the state's drought tolerant plants that include woody shrubs, oak trees, and wild grasses. San Jose is also home to many chaparral open spaces due to the city’s warmer climate.
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Riparian

Riparian landscapes are found where land and water meet. Common plants that make up riparian zones include grasses, shrubs, and trees that can tolerate a changing aquatic environment. This is a common ecosystem in San Jose. Guadalupe River runs through Downtown San Jose, providing lots of urban wildlife to the City’s center.
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Coastal Dunes

Coastal sand dunes are scattered along the California coastline from the Oregon border south to San Diego. They are dynamic habitats that are affected by wave action, tides, wind and trampling. The southern California coastal sand dunes support the rare Globose Dune Beetle and the California Legless Lizard. All dunes in California have been greatly reduced by development, off road vehicle use and exotic species invasion.
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Planter Exhibits

California Poppy


Eschscholzia californica
∙ Native habitat: includes California and extends to Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora and northwest Baja California
∙ The California Poppy is an iconic flower in the American West. It became California’s state flower in 1903, and its image can be found here in SoFA District on the California Theater’s light sign. California poppies bloom between February and September, and its flowers only open during the day time. At night or during cold weather, the flowers close up. California poppies are also drought tolerant, self seeding, and easy to cultivate in any garden.

Western Redbud


∙ Cercis occidentalis
∙ Native habitat: dry slopes and foothills from northern California to Utah and Arizona below 4,000 ft.
∙ The Western Redbud is a pollinator’s delight. Its bright pink flowers bloom from March to May, and are an important nectar source for bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Some native bees also use its leaves to build nests inside trees. The Western Redbud is great for drought tolerant gardens and beautiful during all seasons.


Foothill Sedge


∙ Carex tumulicola
∙ Native habitat: primarily on the coasts of northern California, but extends to San Luis Obispo County and the Channel Islands.
∙ The Foothill Sedge is a grass-like herb that grows in meadows and open woodlands between sea level and 4,000 ft. It prefers open spaces with some moisture, but can tolerate dry periods. For gardening, Foothill Sedge is commonly used as ground cover between trees and shrubs, and is fairly low maintenance.

Want to see more gardens downtown?

Help us decide where the next plant up should be!

Want to see more gardens downtown?

Help us decide where the next plant up should be!

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