Plant roots release exudates that fuel microbial activities and can structure rhizosphere microbial communities, but how different plant species use their root exudate to potentially select for different soil microbes in the rhizosphere is not well understood. Here, we investigated how root exudate from plants of three diverging lineages, Lactuca sativa (lettuce), Brassica juncea (mustard cabbage), and Zea mays (maize) influence the growth of their own rhizosphere bacteria (host) and those from other plant species (non-host) in growth bioassays. We found that on the community level, lettuce rhizosphere bacteria grew better in non-host exudate, but mustard cabbage and maize rhizosphere bacteria grew similarly well in both host and non-host exudate. However, individual bacteria taxa showed strong preferences for exudate from different plant species. The bacterial growth patterns were independent of C and N quantity, suggesting that certain exometabolic compounds may drive the growth patterns. Our results demonstrate that root exudate from a given plant species have the potential to stimulate or suppress soil bacteria and hint at a mechanism that different plant species use to select for their specific suite of rhizosphere bacteria. These findings contribute to our broader understanding of how root exudate composition could be a mechanism that plants use to select for distinct microbial communities in the rhizosphere.