The physiological role and mechanism of nutrient storage within vacuoles of specific cell types is poorly understood. Transcript profiles from Arabidopsis thaliana leaf cells differing in calcium concentration ([Ca], epidermis <10 mM versus mesophyll >60 mM) were compared using a microarray screen and single-cell quantitative PCR. Three tonoplast-localized Ca(2+) transporters, CAX1 (Ca(2+)/H(+)-antiporter), ACA4, and ACA11 (Ca(2+)-ATPases), were identified as preferentially expressed in Ca-rich mesophyll. Analysis of respective loss-of-function mutants demonstrated that only a mutant that lacked expression of both CAX1 and CAX3, a gene ectopically expressed in leaves upon knockout of CAX1, had reduced mesophyll [Ca]. Reduced capacity for mesophyll Ca accumulation resulted in reduced cell wall extensibility, stomatal aperture, transpiration, CO(2) assimilation, and leaf growth rate; increased transcript abundance of other Ca(2+) transporter genes; altered expression of cell wall-modifying proteins, including members of the pectinmethylesterase, expansin, cellulose synthase, and polygalacturonase families; and higher pectin concentrations and thicker cell walls. We demonstrate that these phenotypes result from altered apoplastic free [Ca(2+)], which is threefold greater in cax1/cax3 than in wild-type plants. We establish CAX1 as a key regulator of apoplastic [Ca(2+)] through compartmentation into mesophyll vacuoles, a mechanism essential for optimal plant function and productivity.