“If mums clean the air of toxins so well, how can you benefit if it is an outdoor plant? Can it survive inside?” Question from Ruth of Windsor Mill, Maryland
Answer: Great question! It is true that NASA conducted a study of air-purifying plants (see the study here) and found chrysanthemums to be one of the best for air purification. Out of almost 30 plants studied, they found that mums removed all six air toxins tested, which included benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia. The only other plant that was just as air purifying was the peace lily (Spathiphyllum ‘Mauna Loa’).
Florists mums can be grown indoors, but they need a chilling or wintering over period to survive in the long term and flower yearly. Instead of going through the hassle of tending an indoor mum, plant a peace lily instead. It is a big, bold house plant with pretty white flowers, and it will purify your air just as well.
Peace lily performs beautifully in indoor low-light conditions. It has glossy, lance-shaped leaves, and white spring-to-fall blossoms. Plant it in Black Gold All Purpose Potting Mix, and keep it moist, but be sure not to overwater it.
I hope this helps!
Black Gold Horticulturist