Although plants continually produce different organs throughout their life cycle, little is known about the factors that regulate the timing of a given developmental program. Here we report that the restricted expression of FUS3 to the epidermis is sufficient to control foliar organ identity in Arabidopsis by regulating the synthesis of two hormones, abscisic acid and gibberellin. These hormones in turn regulate the rates of cell cycling during organ formation to determine whether an embryonic or adult leaf will emerge. We also show that FUS3 expression is influenced by the patterning hormone, auxin, and therefore acts as a nexus of hormone action during embryogenesis. The identification of lipophillic hormones downstream of a heterochronic regulator in Arabidopsis has parallels to mechanisms of developmental timing in animals and suggests a common logic for temporal control of developmental programs between these two kingdoms.