The phytohormone cytokinin triggers numerous and diverse responses during the plant life cycle via a two-component phosphorelay signalling system. Each step of the signalling cascade is supported by a gene family comprising several members. While functional redundancy is observed among family members, additional gene-specific functions encoded by cis-regulatory and coding sequence of individual family members have been described and contribute to specificity in signalling output. In addition, the cellular context of the signal-receiving cell affects the response triggered. Recent studies in Arabidopsis have demonstrated how expression of cytokinin signalling components predefines a spatiotemporal map of signalling sensitivity, which causes local signal amplification and attenuation. In summary, the specific interpretation of cytokinin signalling is affected by an orchestrated interplay of signalling genes and cellular context.