White lupin (Lupinus albus) exhibits strong root morphological and physiological responses to phosphorus (P) deficiency and auxin treatments, but the interactive effects of P and auxin in regulating root morphological and physiological traits are not fully understood. This study aimed to assess white lupin root traits as influenced by P (0 or 250 μmol L-1) and auxin (10-8 mol L-1 NAA) in nutrient solution. Both P deficiency and auxin treatments significantly altered root morphological traits, as evidenced by reduced taproot length, increased number and density of first-order lateral roots, and enhanced cluster-root formation. Changes in root physiological traits were also observed, i. e., increased proton, citrate, and acid phosphatase exudation. Exogenous auxin enhanced root responses and sensitivity to P deficiency. A significant interplay exists between P and auxin in the regulation of root morphological and physiological traits. Principal component analysis showed that P availability explained 64. 8% and auxin addition 21. 3% of the total variation in root trait parameters, indicating that P availability is much more important than auxin in modifying root responses of white lupin. This suggests that white lupin can coordinate root morphological and physiological responses to enhance acquisition of P resources, with an optimal trade-off between root morphological and physiological traits regulated by external stimuli such as P availability and auxin. © 2013 The Author(s).