Despite extensive studies on how environmental factors influence plant nutrient distribution and stoichiometry, it remains unclear how elevation affects soil distribution and stoichiometry. Here, patterns of the spatial distribution and stoichiometry of soil carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) were studied (with 123 soil samples) along a small-scale elevation gradient in the wetland of East Dongting Lake, China. Plant nutrient concentrations (C, N and P), soil stoichiometry (C:N,C:P and N:P ratios) and their relations with other soil properties were analysed. In addition, the spatial distributions of plant nutrient concentrations and stoichiometry were evaluated geostatistically with regression kriging, entailing estimation of regression parameters by generalized least squares and ordinary kriging of the residuals. Soil C, N and P concentrations and stoichiometry had moderate to strong spatial dependence, and the ratios of C:P and N:P had similar patterns of distribution to soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN). The SOC, TN, C:N, C:P and N:P ratios increased with increasing elevation, whereas total phosphorus (TP) showed no marked change. Furthermore, SOC, TN, C:N, C:P and N:P decreased considerably with increasing duration of submergence, soil moisture and pH. Therefore, elevation appeared to influence the distribution of plant nutrients and stoichiometry as a result of changing soil moisture and duration of submergence.