We conducted a literature survey and correlated heavy metal (HM) uptake and plant growth factors from published data to estimate the effectiveness of phytoextraction. The indicators of the actual plant HM uptake showed positive correlations with soil-HM concentrations, while the relative plant HM uptake showed negative correlations. Plant growth was negatively correlated with both the plant and soil-HM concentrations. These significant relationships were found for the majority of HM tested (e.g. Zn, Cd, Pb, Cu, Cr, and Fe) with a few exceptions (e.g. Ni, Co, and Mn). After fitting the correlation coefficients, the highest proportion of variance among the studies was mainly due to the experimental parameters or the plant species. When the metabolic costs of HM uptake are taken into account, the phytoextraction appears to be less effective beyond critical HM concentrations. Despite these constraints, it is emphasized that HM phytoextraction can play an important role in bioremediation.