In spermatophytes the ovules upon fertilization give rise to the seeds. It is essential to understand the mechanisms that control ovule number and development as they ultimately determine the final number of seeds and, thereby, the yield in crop plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana, ovules arise laterally from a meristematic tissue within the carpel referred to as placenta. For a correct determination of the number of ovules, a precise establishment of the positions where ovule primordia emerge is needed, and a tight definition of the boundaries between ovules is therefore also required. In the last decades, few factors have been identified to be involved in the determination of ovule number. Recently, plant hormones have also been revealed as fundamental players in the control of the initiation of ovule formation. In this review we summarize the current knowledge about both the molecular and hormonal mechanisms that control ovule formation in Arabidopsis thaliana.