[en] The life cycle of a primary cilium begins in quiescence and ends prior to mitosis. In quiescent cells, the primary cilium insulates itself from contiguous dynamic membrane processes on the cell surface to function as a stable signaling apparatus. Here, we demonstrate that basal restriction of ciliary structure dynamics is established by the cilia-enriched phosphoinositide 5-phosphatase, Inpp5e. Growth induction displaces ciliary Inpp5e and accumulates phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate in distal cilia. This change triggers otherwise-forbidden actin polymerization in primary cilia, which excises cilia tips in a process we call cilia decapitation. While cilia disassembly is traditionally thought to occur solely through resorption, we show that an acute loss of IFT-B through cilia decapitation precedes resorption. Finally, we propose that cilia decapitation induces mitogenic signaling and constitutes a molecular link between the cilia life cycle and cell-division cycle. This newly defined ciliary mechanism may find significance in cell proliferation control during normal development and cancer.