Growth at the root tip and organ generation at the shoot tip depend on the proper functioning of apical meristems and the transitioning of meristematic cell descendants from a proliferating state to cell elongation and differentiation. Members of the AINTEGUMENTA-LIKE/PLETHORA (AIL/PLT) transcription factor family, a clade of two-AP2 domain proteins, specify both stem cell fate and control cellular progression of stem cell daughter cells toward differentiation. Here we highlight the importance of an AIL/PLT protein gradient in controlling distinct cellular behaviors in the root through the regulation of distinct targets in different parts of the root tip. Within the shoot, AIL/PLT proteins also promote organ growth and inhibit differentiation pointing to conserved roles in meristem function. However, they exhibit unequal genetic redundancy in these functions and do not always act in a purely additive manner. Differences in AIL/PLT regulation and perhaps transcriptional targets in roots and shoots suggest that these growth regulators have adapted to mediate growth control in distinct ways in these organ systems.