Growing agricultural demands in the face of impending inorganic phosphate (Pi) shortages underscore a need for a better understanding of plant development under conditions of Pi deprivation. Pi is an essential nutrient that is a major component of fertilizer. Plants have evolved strategies to improve the acquisition of this nutrient by altering root development under shortage conditions. We show that signaling peptides thought to act redundantly in Arabidopsis thaliana development have distinct functions in response to Pi deprivation. Using microscopy and confocal imaging, roots were analyzed for growth rate and cellular composition. Using expression microarrays, genes influencing development in response to phosphate deprivation were identified. ROOT GROWTH FACTOR1 (RGF1) and RGF2 influenced different aspects of root development under conditions of Pi deprivation. We found that RGF2 influenced the longitudinal growth rate in the primary root in response to Pi deprivation, whereas RGF1 affected circumferential cell number in the root meristem. These data suggest that the mechanisms controlling adaptive development can depend on disparate functions of genes thought to act redundantly, thus elucidating new functions for important developmental regulators.