Heavy metals that contaminate soils are capable of leeching into water supplies, poisoning both plants and animals, and changing the indigenous microbial populations. Development of methods for their efficient removal, through processes such as phytoremediation, utilises plants that hyper-accumulate heavy metals. Phytoremediation requires a thorough understanding of the microbes in the soil and plant rhizosphere. Through an understanding of these microbes and their processes, bioremediation of heavy metals can be improved.