Solution culture has been used extensively to determine the phytotoxic effects of trace metals. A review of the literature from 1975 to 2009 was carried out to evaluate the effects of As(V), Cd(II), Co(II), Cu(II), Hg(II), Mn(II), Ni(II), Pb(II), and Zn(II) on plants grown in solution. A total of 119 studies was selected using criteria that allowed a valid comparison of the results; reported toxic concentrations varied by five orders of magnitude. Across a range of plant species and experimental conditions, the phytotoxicity of the trace metals followed the trend (from most to least toxic): Pb≈Hg >Cu >Cd≈As >Co≈Ni≈Zn >Mn, with median toxic concentrations of (μM): 0.30 Pb, 0.47 Hg, 2.0 Cu, 5.0 Cd, 9.0 As, 17 Co, 19 Ni, 25 Zn, and 46 Mn. For phytotoxicity studies in solution culture, we suggest (i) plants should be grown in a dilute solution which mimics the soil solution, or that, at a minimum, contains Ca and B, (ii) solution pH should be monitored and reported (as should the concentrations of the trace metal of interest), (iii) assessment should be made of the influence of pH on solution composition and ion speciation, and (iv) both the period of exposure to the trace metal and the plant variable measured should be appropriate. Observing these criteria will potentially lead to reliable data on the relationship between growth depression and the concentration of the toxic metal in solution.