Axis formation is a fundamental issue in developmental biology. Axis formation and patterning in plant leaves is crucial for morphology and crop productivity. Here, we reveal the basis of proximal-distal patterning in rice leaves, which consist of a proximal sheath, a distal blade, and boundary organs formed between these two regions. Analysis of the three rice homologs of the Arabidopsis BLADE-ON-PETIOLE1 (BOP1) gene indicates that OsBOPs activate proximal sheath differentiation and suppress distal blade differentiation. Temporal expression changes of OsBOPs are responsible for the developmental changes in the sheath:blade ratio. We further identify that the change in the sheath:blade ratio during the juvenile phase is controlled by the miR156/SPL pathway, which modifies the level and pattern of expression of OsBOPs. OsBOPs are also essential for differentiation of the boundary organs. We propose that OsBOPs, the main regulators of proximal-distal patterning, control temporal changes in the sheath:blade ratio of rice leaves.