Incomplete delivery to the target cells is an obstacle for successful gene therapy approaches. Here we show unexpected effects of incomplete targeting, by demonstrating how heterogeneous inhibition of a growth promoting signaling pathway promotes tissue hyperplasia. We studied the function of the lymphangiogenic VEGFR3 receptor during embryonic and post-natal development. Inducible genetic deletion of Vegfr3 in lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) leads to selection of non-targeted VEGFR3+ cells at vessel tips, indicating an indispensable cell-autonomous function in migrating tip cells. Although Vegfr3 deletion results in lymphatic hypoplasia in mouse embryos, incomplete deletion during post-natal development instead causes excessive lymphangiogenesis. Analysis of mosaically targeted endothelium shows that VEGFR3- LECs non-cell-autonomously drive abnormal vessel anastomosis and hyperplasia by inducing proliferation of non-targeted VEGFR3+ LECs through cell-contact-dependent reduction of Notch signaling. Heterogeneity in VEGFR3 levels thus drives vessel hyperplasia, which has implications for the understanding of mechanisms of developmental and pathological tissue growth.