Modified natural zeolites (MNZ) are widely used in pollutant removal, but how to address these MNZ that have adsorbed pollutants must be considered. Selenium is an essential trace element for metabolism and is also a water pollutant. Selenium is adsorbed in the water by MNZ in this study first. Then the Brassica chinensis L. was planted in the soil which contains the MNZ loaded with selenium (MNZ-Se) to explore selenium uptake. MNZ-Se release tests in water and soil were also considered. The results showed the following: (1) The maximum adsorption capacity of MNZ for selenium is 46.90 mg/g. Water release experiments of MNZ-Se showed that regardless of how the pH of the aqueous solution changes, the trend of the release of selenium from MNZ-Se in aqueous solution is not affected and first decreases before stabilizing. Soil release experiments of MNZ-Se showed that the selenium content in the soil increased and reached the concentration in the standard of selenium-rich soil. Addition amount and soil pH value will affect the release ratio. The release ratio of MNZ-Se in the water was higher than that in the soil. With an increase in the soil MNZ-Se content, the selenium content in the soil and B. c increases. Above all, MZN can be a good medium for water pollutant removal and soil improvement. ©The Author(s) 2021.