Periosteal stem and progenitor cells (PSPCs) are major contributors to bone maintenance and repair. Deciphering the molecular mechanisms that regulate their function is crucial for the successful generation and application of future therapeutics. Here, we pinpoint Hox transcription factors as necessary and sufficient for periosteal stem cell function. Hox genes are transcriptionally enriched in periosteal stem cells and their overexpression in more committed progenitors drives reprogramming to a naïve, self-renewing stem cell-like state. Crucially, individual Hox family members are expressed in a location-specific manner and their stem cell-promoting activity is only observed when the Hox gene is matched to the anatomical origin of the PSPC, demonstrating a role for the embryonic Hox code in adult stem cells. Finally, we demonstrate that Hoxa10 overexpression partially restores the age-related decline in fracture repair. Together, our data highlight the importance of Hox genes as key regulators of PSPC identity in skeletal homeostasis and repair.