Soil communities can have profound effects on invasions of ecosystems by exotic plant species. We propose that there are three main pathways by which this can happen. First, plant–soil feedback interactions in the invaded range are neutral to positive, whereas native plants predominantly suffer from negative soil feedback effects. Second, exotic plants can manipulate local soil biota by enhancing pathogen levels or disrupting communities of root symbionts, while suffering less from this than native plants. Third, exotic plants produce allelochemicals toxic to native plants that cannot be detoxified by local soil communities, or that become more toxic following microbial conversion. We discuss the need for integrating these three pathways in order to further understand how soil communities influence exotic plant invasions.