The cotton bollworm Helicoverpa armigera is a destructive pest that affects a variety of crop plants. Because of its polyphagous feeding habit, mobility as adults, and high fecundity, the expanding infestations of H. armigera in different crops have caused economic losses and difficulties for pest population management. In Brazil, a sequence of different crop systems in the same area and crop rotation during the year can create a spatio-temporal mosaic of crops where H. armigera can persist. However, the consequences of the simultaneous and/or alternating presence of host plants for H. armigera populations through generations are unknown. In this study, we simulated, in the laboratory, hypothetical situations for the availability of soybean and cotton crops in the landscape. We evaluated the effects of: (1) the number of generations during which a population feeds on a host-plant species; (2) the succession of host-plant species on which populations have fed for two generations; and (3) the parental host plant on the fitness of H. armigera populations. Only the current host plant on which larvae fed affected the performance of the H. armigera populations. Decrease of mortality rates during the immature period was slowed when the larvae fed on soybean. The lowest value of reproductive potential (R (0)) was found for individuals originating from mating between females and males reared in cotton. Our results indicated that pest-management and biological-control plans for H. armigera should be developed on a regional scale rather than for just a specific crop area.