Abstract The cabbage beetle, Colaphellus bowringi Baly (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), is a serious pest of crucifers in China, undergoing an imaginal summer and winter diapause in the soil. The effects of host plants on diapause incidence were tested in the beetle. The ratio of adults entering diapause was significantly low when they fed on the mature leaves of Chinese cabbage Shanghaiqin (Brassica chinesis var communis) than those feeding on Chinese cabbage Suzhouqin (Brassica chinesis var communis), radish (Raphanus sativus var longipinnatus) and stem mustard (Brassica juncea var tumida) at 25°C combined with 13: 11 (L: D) h. Fewer adults entered diapause on young leaves compared to physiologically aged and mature radish leaves at 25°C combined with 13: 11 (L: D) h. The effect of host plant species on diapause induction was also evident under continuously dark rearing conditions or at different photoperiods. These experimental results demonstrate that host plant mediation of diapause induction exists in the cabbage beetle. However, at temperatures < 20°C or photoperiods of 16: 8 (L: D) h combined with 25°C, all individuals entered diapause regardless of the host plants, indicating that the effects of host plants on diapause induction could be expressed only within a limited range of temperatures and photoperiods.