top of page


I'm Erica Hannickel, a nonfiction author, and I've been growing orchids since 2005. It started like most orchiholic stories do: I was given a phalaenopsis, I stumbled into making it rebloom, and I was off to the races. I now own 150+ orchids and grow most of them indoors year-round. Because space is limited, I focus on smallish and fragrant orchids that need low to medium light and moderate temperatures. You might be surprised at how many orchids fit that category!


I grew up in northern California, received my BA in Ethnic Studies at UC San Diego, and after living in New York City and a few other places, earned a PhD in American Studies at the University of Iowa. I'm a former professor of environmental history at Northland College in Wisconsin, I've lived on the shores of Lake Superior since 2008. I've been hard at work on a book about the odd corners of orchid history (with some fun how-to). Orchid Muse: The History of an Obsession in Fifteen Flowers is out from W.W. Norton & Company as of late 2022. My agent is Deirdre Mullane of Mullane Literary Agency.

I gardened with my grandmothers as a little girl. I'm a master gardener, I've founded several community gardens across three states, and am an avid organic kitchen gardener. I love visiting botanical gardens and orchid greenhouses all over the world. On the trip home, I pack the orchids I buy into every spare inch of my luggage. Clothes are often sacrificed for the cause.

bottom of page