Polycomb repressive complex (PRC)-mediated gene silencing is vital for cell identity and development in both the plant and the animal kingdoms. It also modulates responses to stress. Two major protein complexes, PRC1 and PRC2, execute conserved nuclear functions in metazoans and plants through covalent modification of histones and by compacting chromatin. While a general requirement for Polycomb complexes in mitotically heritable gene repression in the context of chromatin is well established, recent studies have brought new insights into the regulation of Polycomb complex activity and recruitment. Here, we discuss these recent advances with emphasis on PRC2.