The giant sequoia and the bristlecone pine trees are capable of living up to several hundreds or even thousands of years. Plants achieve this longevity by regenerating stem cells capable of giving rise to all differentiated cells. Plant stem cells reside in specific niches with high mitotic activity that are known as meristems. Remarkably, at the center of the root stem cell niche (SCN) resides a group of mitotically inactive cells known as the quiescent center (QC). Recent studies suggest that stress-related phytohormones and DNA damage can initiate QC cell division, resulting in the replenishment of stem cells surrounding the QC. We therefore propose that the QC represents a pool of backup cells that serve to replace damaged stem cells, thereby contributing to plant longevity.