Plant traits associated with alien invasiveness may also distinguish rare from common native species. To test this, we grew 23 native (9 common, 14 rare) and 18 alien (8 common, 10 rare) herbaceous species in Switzerland from six plant families under nutrient-addition and competition treatments. Alien and common species achieved greater biomass than native and rare species did overall respectively. Across alien and native origins, common species increased total biomass more strongly in response to nutrient addition than rare species did and this difference was not confounded by habitat dissimilarities. There was a weak tendency for common species to survive competition better than rare species, which was also independent of origin. Overall, our study suggests that common alien and native plant species are not fundamentally different in their responses to nutrient addition and competition.