The neonatal heart undergoes normal hypertrophy or compensation to complete development and adapt to increased systolic pressures. Hypertrophy and increased neonatal wall stiffness are associated with a doubling of the number of fibroblasts and de novo formation of collagen. Normal postnatal remodeling is completed within 3-4 weeks after birth but can be rekindled in adult life in response to environmental signals that lead to pathological hypertrophy, fibrosis, and heart failure. The signals that trigger fibroblast and collagen formation (fibrosis) as well as the origin and differentiation of the cardiac fibroblast lineage are not well understood. Using mice studies and a single-cell engraftment model, we have shown that cardiac fibroblasts are derived from two extracardiac sources: the embryonic proepicardial organ and the recruitment of circulating bone marrow cells of hematopoietic stem cell origin. Periostin, a matricellular protein, is normally expressed in differentiating fibroblasts but its expression is elevated several fold in pathological remodeling and heart failure. Our hypothesis that periostin is profibrogenic (i.e., it promotes differentiation of progenitor mesenchymal cells into fibroblasts and their secretion and compaction of collagen) was tested using isolated and cultured embryonic, neonatal, and adult wild-type and periostin-null, nonmyocyte populations. Our findings indicate that abrogation of periostin by targeted gene deletion inhibits differentiation of nonmyocyte progenitor cells or permits misdirection into a cardiomyocyte lineage. However, if cultured with periostin or forced to express periostin, they became fibroblasts. Periostin plays a significant role in promoting fibrogenesis residual stress, and tensile testings indicated that periostin played an essential regulatory role in maintaining the biomechanical properties of the adult myocardium. These findings indicate that periostin is a profibrogenic matricellular protein that promotes collagen fibrogenesis, inhibits differentiation of progenitor cells into cardiomyocytes, and is essential for maintaining the biomechanical properties of the adult myocardium.