1. Maternal and offspring diet effects on life-history traits of the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi were tested on three wheat varieties. Using nine reciprocal combinations of wheat varieties, the effects of previous experience (maternal diet effect) on the aphid's response to resistant and susceptible varieties (offspring diet effect) were tested. Batis was susceptible, and Xiaoyan22 and Ww2730 were both resistant, but with different mechanisms. 2. Aphids produced the most alatae in the treatments with the most resistant maternal diet variety Xiaoyan22. The fecundity (F) and intrinsic rate of increase (rm) of these alatae were at their greatest in the most resistant offspring diet variety, but these traits were not influenced in the apterae. 3. There were significant interactions in the alatae production and apterae life-history traits, such as rm, development time, weight gain, and mean relative growth rate, between the maternal and offspring diet varieties. The interactions in apterae responses between varieties, some of which were reciprocal, indicated phenotypic plasticity in these parthenogenetic aphids. 4. Rhopalosiphum padi produced more alatae on the most resistant variety; the alatae would disperse and were more fecund. The growth responses of the apterae showed phenotypic plasticity to the different combinations of maternal and offspring diet varieties. The phenotypic plasticity would allow R. padi to better utilise the variable environments represented by the small wheat plots of different varieties in China.