Circadian regulation produces a biological measure of time within cells. The daily cycle in the availability of light for photosynthesis causes dramatic changes in biochemical processes in photosynthetic organisms, with the circadian clock having crucial roles in adaptation to these fluctuating conditions. Correct alignment between the circadian clock and environmental daynight cycles maximizes plant productivity through its regulation of metabolism. Therefore, the processes that integrate circadian regulation with metabolism are key to understanding how the circadian clock contributes to plant productivity. This forms an important part of exploiting knowledge of circadian regulation to enhance sustainable crop production. Here, we examine the roles of circadian regulation in metabolic processes in source and sink organ structures of Arabidopsis. We also evaluate possible roles for circadian regulation in root exudation processes that deposit carbon into the soil, and the nature of the rhythmic interactions between plants and their associated microbial communities. Finally, we examine shared and differing aspects of the circadian regulation of metabolism between Arabidopsis and other model photosynthetic organisms, and between circadian control of metabolism in photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic organisms. This synthesis identifies a variety of future research topics, including a focus on metabolic processes that underlie biotic interactions within ecosystems.