Rhizosphere competence of fluorescent pseudomonads is a prerequisite for the expression of their beneficial effects on plant growth and health. To date, knowledge on bacterial traits involved in rhizosphere competence is fragmented and derived mostly from studies with model strains. Here, a population approach was taken by investigating a representative collection of 23 Pseudomonas species and strains from different origins for their ability to colonize the rhizosphere of tomato plants grown in natural soil. Rhizosphere competence of these strains was related to phenotypic traits including: (1) their carbon and energetic metabolism represented by the ability to use a wide range of organic compounds, as electron donors, and iron and nitrogen oxides, as electron acceptors, and (2) their ability to produce antibiotic compounds and N-acylhomoserine lactones (N-AHSL). All these data including origin of the strains (soil/rhizosphere), taxonomic identification, phenotypic cluster based on catabolic profiles, nitrogen dissimilating ability, siderovars, susceptibility to iron starvation, antibiotic and N-AHSL production, and rhizosphere competence were submitted to multiple correspondence analyses. Colonization assays revealed a significant diversity in rhizosphere competence with survival rates ranging from approximately 0.1 % to 61 %. Multiple correspondence analyses indicated that rhizosphere competence was associated with siderophore-mediated iron acquisition, substrate utilization, and denitrification. However, the catabolic profile of one rhizosphere-competent strain differed from the others and its competence was associated with its ability to produce antibiotics phenazines and N-AHSL. Taken together, these data suggest that competitive strains have developed two types of strategies to survive in the rhizosphere.