Post-embryonic development and longevity of flowering plants are, for a large part, determined by the activity and maturation state of stem cell niches formed in the axils of leaves, the so-called axillary meristems (AMs)1,2. The genes that are associated with AM maturation and underlie the differences between monocarpic (reproduce once and die) annual and the longer-lived polycarpic (reproduce more than once) perennial plants are still largely unknown. Here we identify a new role for the ArabidopsisAT-HOOK MOTIF NUCLEAR LOCALIZED 15 (AHL15) gene as a suppressor of AM maturation. Loss of AHL15 function accelerates AM maturation, whereas ectopic expression of AHL15 suppresses AM maturation and promotes longevity in monocarpic Arabidopsis and tobacco. Accordingly, in Arabidopsis grown under longevity-promoting short-day conditions, or in polycarpic Arabidopsis lyrata, expression of AHL15 is upregulated in AMs. Together, our results indicate that AHL15 and other AHL clade-A genes play an important role, directly downstream of flowering genes (SOC1, FUL) and upstream of the flowering-promoting hormone gibberellic acid, in suppressing AM maturation and extending the plant’s lifespan.