Lignin accumulates in the cell walls of specialized cell types to enable plants to stand upright and conduct water and minerals, withstand abiotic stresses, and defend themselves against pathogens. These functions depend on specific lignin concentrations and subunit composition in different cell types and cell wall layers. However, the mechanisms controlling the accumulation of specific lignin subunits, such as coniferaldehyde, during the development of these different cell types are still poorly understood. We herein validated the Wiesner test (phloroglucinol/HCl) for the restrictive quantitative in situ analysis of coniferaldehyde incorporation in lignin. Using this optimized tool, we investigated the genetic control of coniferaldehyde incorporation in the different cell types of genetically-engineered herbaceous and woody plants with modified lignin content and/or composition. Our results demonstrate that the incorporation of coniferaldehyde in lignified cells is controlled by (a) autonomous biosynthetic routes for each cell type, combined with (b) distinct cell-to-cell cooperation between specific cell types, and (c) cell wall layer-specific accumulation capacity. This process tightly regulates coniferaldehyde residue accumulation in specific cell types to adapt their property and/or function to developmental and/or environmental changes.