A sessile lifestyle forces plants to respond promptly to factors that affect their genomic integrity. Therefore, plants have developed checkpoint mechanisms to arrest cell cycle progression upon the occurrence of DNA stress, allowing the DNA to be repaired before onset of division. Previously, the WEE1 kinase had been demonstrated to be essential for delaying progression through the cell cycle in the presence of replication-inhibitory drugs, such as hydroxyurea. To understand the severe growth arrest of WEE1-deficient plants treated with hydroxyurea, a transcriptomics analysis was performed, indicating prolonged S-phase duration. A role for WEE1 during S phase was substantiated by its specific accumulation in replicating nuclei that suffered from DNA stress. Besides an extended replication phase, WEE1 knockout plants accumulated dead cells that were associated with premature vascular differentiation. Correspondingly, plants without functional WEE1 ectopically expressed the vascular differentiation marker VND7, and their vascular development was aberrant. We conclude that the growth arrest of WEE1-deficient plants is due to an extended cell cycle duration in combination with a premature onset of vascular cell differentiation. The latter implies that the plant WEE1 kinase acquired an indirect developmental function that is important for meristem maintenance upon replication stress.