Early blooming perennials/shrubs that attract butterflies include: allium, chives, forget-me-not and lilac. Bee balm, butterfly bush, black-eyed Susan, buttonbush, butterfly weed, daisy, daylily, gaillardia, lavender, lily, mint, phlox, privet, sunflower and veronica are all good options for a mid-season bloom. Aster, glossy abelia and sedum are late bloomers that attract butterflies.
Other features you can incorporate in the garden to appeal to butterflies include areas of full sun. Butterflies are cold-blooded so they seek sunshine for warmth. Shade is also necessary so they can escape from intense sun.
Water is important for butterflies. This can be provided with a simple birdbath or even a water-filled saucer placed on the ground.
Visit Monarch Watch (www.monarchwatch.org) to find resources for attracting monarch butterflies to your landscape. This organization provides educational material about all things Monarch butterflies, as well as supplies to become an official Monarch waystation. This is a great resource for schools, environmentally-focused organizations and even home gardeners.
Here is a fact sheet about butterflies from our Johnson County Master Gardeners. (Cynthia Domenghini)