Abstract The ultimate goal of soil remediation is to restore soil health. Soil microbial parameters are considered to be effective indicators of soil health. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of phytoextraction on microbial properties through the measurement of soil microbial biomass carbon, soil basal respiration and enzyme activities. For this purpose, a pre-stratified rhizobox experiment was conducted with the Cd hyperaccumulator Sedum alfredii H. for phytoextraction Cd from an artificial contaminated soil (15.81mgkg−1) under greenhouse conditions. The plant and soil samples were collected after growing the plant for three and six months with three replications. The results indicated that the ecotype of S. alfredii H. originating from an ancient silver mining site was a Cd-hyperaccumulator as it showed high tolerance to Cd stress, the shoot Cd concentration were as high as 922.6mgkg−1 and 581.9mgkg−1 at the two samplings, and it also showed high BF (58.4 and 36.8 after 3 and 6 months growth), and TF (5.8 and 5.1 after 3 and 6 months growth). The amounts of Cd accumulated in the shoots of S. alfredii reached to an average of 1206μgplant−1 after 6 months growth. Basal respiration, invertase and acid phosphatase activities of the rhizosphere soil separated by the shaking method were significantly higher (P<0.01) than that of the near-rhizosphere soil and the unplanted soil after 3 months growth, so were microbial biomass carbon, urease, invertase and acid phosphatase activities of the rhizosphere soil after 6 months growth. Acid phosphatase activity of the 0–2mm sub-layer rhizosphere soil collected by the pre-stratified method after 3 months growth was significantly higher (P<0.05) than that of other sub-layer rhizosphere soils and bulk soil, and so were microbial biomass carbon, basal respiration, urease, invertase and acid phosphatase activities of the 0–2mm sub-layer rhizosphere soil after 6 months growth. It was concluded that phytoextraction by S. alfredii could improve soil microbial properties, especially in rhizosphere, and this plant poses a great potential for the remediation of Cd contaminated soil.