Body size varies widely among species, populations and individuals, depending on the environment. Transitioning between proliferation and differentiation is a crucial determinant of final organ size, but how the timing of this transition is established and maintained remains unknown. Using cell proliferation markers and genetic analysis, we show that CHIQUITA1 (CHIQ1) is required to maintain the timing of the transition from proliferation to differentiation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Combining kinematic and cell lineage-tracking studies, we found that the number of actively dividing cells in chiquita1-1 plants decreases prematurely compared with wild-type plants, suggesting CHIQ1 maintains the proliferative capacity in dividing cells and ensures that cells divide a specific number of times. CHIQ1 belongs to a plant-specific gene family of unknown molecular function and genetically interacts with three close members of its family to control the timing of proliferation exit. Our work reveals the interdependency between cellular and organ-level processes underlying final organ size determination.