Iron is an essential element for most living organisms, and pathogens are likely to compete with their hosts for the acquisition of this element. The bacterial plant pathogen Dickeya dadantii has been shown to require its siderophore-mediated iron uptake system for systemic disease progression on several host plants, including Arabidopsis thaliana. In this study, we investigated the effect of the iron status of Arabidopsis on the severity of disease caused by D. dadantii. We showed that symptom severity, bacterial fitness and the expression of bacterial pectate lyase-encoding genes were reduced in iron-deficient plants. Reduced symptoms correlated with enhanced expression of the salicylic acid defence plant marker gene PR1. However, levels of the ferritin coding transcript AtFER1, callose deposition and production of reactive oxygen species were reduced in iron-deficient infected plants, ruling out the involvement of these defences in the limitation of disease caused by D. dadantii. Disease reduction in iron-starved plants was also observed with the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea. Our data demonstrate that the plant nutritional iron status can control the outcome of an infection by acting on both the pathogen's virulence and the host's defence. In addition, iron nutrition strongly affects the disease caused by two soft rot-causing plant pathogens with a large host range. Thus, it may be of interest to take into account the plant iron status when there is a need to control disease without compromising crop quality and yield in economically important plant species.