Perturbation of addition of second heart field (SHF) cardiac progenitor cells to the poles of the heart tube results in congenital heart defects (CHD). The transcriptional programs and upstream regulatory events operating in different subpopulations of the SHF remain unclear. Here, we profile the transcriptome and chromatin accessibility of anterior and posterior SHF subpopulations at genome-wide levels and demonstrate that Hoxbl negatively regulates differentiation in the posterior SHF. Spatial mis-expression of Hoxbl in the anterior SHF results in hypoplastic right ventricle. Activation of Hoxbl in embryonic stem cells arrests cardiac differentiation, whereas Hoxbl-deficient mouse embryos display premature cardiac differentiation. Moreover, ectopic differentiation in the posterior SHF of embryos lacking both Hoxbl and its paralog Hoxal results in atrioventricular septal defects. Our results show that Hoxbl plays a key role in patterning cardiac progenitor cells that contribute to both cardiac poles and provide new insights into the pathogenesis of CHD.