Vegetation stands have a heterogeneous distribution of light quality, including the red/far-red light ratio (R/FR) that informs plants about proximity of neighbors. Adequate responses to changes in R/FR are important for competitive success. How the detection and response to R/FR are spatially linked and how this spatial coordination between detection and response affects plant performance remains unresolved. We show in Arabidopsis thaliana and Brassica nigra that localized FR enrichment at the lamina tip induces upward leaf movement (hyponasty) from the petiole base. Using a combination of organ-level transcriptome analysis, molecular reporters, and physiology, we show that PIF-dependent spatial auxin dynamics are key to this remote response to localized FR enrichment. Using computational 3D modeling, we show that remote signaling of R/FR for hyponasty has an adaptive advantage over local signaling in the petiole, because it optimizes the timing of leaf movement in response to neighbors and prevents hyponasty caused by self-shading.