Local accumulation of the plant growth regulator auxin mediates pattern formation in Arabidopsis roots and influences outgrowth and development of lateral root- and shoot-derived primordia. However, it has remained unclear how auxin can simultaneously regulate patterning and organ outgrowth and how its distribution is stabilized in a primordium-specific manner. Here we show that five PIN genes collectively control auxin distribution to regulate cell division and cell expansion in the primary root. Furthermore, the joint action of these genes has an important role in pattern formation by focusing the auxin maximum and restricting the expression domain of PLETHORA (PLT) genes, major determinants for root stem cell specification. In turn, PLT genes are required for PIN gene transcription to stabilize the auxin maximum at the distal root tip. Our data reveal an interaction network of auxin transport facilitators and root fate determinants that control patterning and growth of the root primordium.