Initiation, development, and subsequent growth of seedling root and shoot components can have a direct influence on the quality, adaptation, and survival of seedlings, particularly under stress conditions. Taproot, basal, lateral, and adventitious root components (common indicot plants) each have their own development sequence, growth rate, and may have separate functions for subsequent seedling growth and development. Stresses originating in root components may be expressed in shoots affecting dry matter partitioning between roots and shoots. Partitioning and development of root morphological components and root/shoot growth adaptation to stress environments will be presented for various vegetable species. Implications of root developmental differences in relation to field planting methods will be discussed. Understanding seedling morphology, physiology and assimilate partitioning during early ontogeny would assist directing strategies to improve field establishment and ultimately crop production.