There are three main ways to buy Gloxinia bulbs: at a local garden center, through the Internet, or through a bulb-and-seed catalog, such as the Michigan Bulb Catalog. Because Gloxinia is not a very common garden plant, bulbs are not usually available from home centers or hardware stores.
While buying Gloxinia bulbs is more convenient and often less-expensive over the Internet or through catalogs, there are many advantages when buying the bulbs directly from a local garden center. Buying bulbs through a catalog or the Internet requires purchasing the items sight-unseen, but buying the bulbs from a garden center lets the customer personally inspect bulbs before purchasing. Buying from a garden center also provides access to garden center staff, who often have valuable information about how and when to plant Gloxinia bulbs in the area.
There are two very different types of plants sold as Gloxinia. The most common is Hardy Gloxinia, which is actually a completely different species called Incarvillea. Chinese Gloxinia looks similar to Hardy Gloxinia, but it is a very different plant. While retailers sell Hardy Gloxinia as bulbs, Chinese Gloxinia does not come true from seed, and it is only sold as a live plant. Chinese Gloxinia is a tender plant, while Hardy Gloxinia can tolerate anything up to a hard freeze.