Intraspecific phytochemical variation across a landscape can cascade up trophic levels, potentially mediating the composition of entire insect communities. Surprisingly, we have little understanding of the processes that regulate and maintain phytochemical variation likely because these processes are complex and operate simultaneously both temporally and spatially. To assess how phytochemistry varies within species, we tested the degree to which resource availability, contrasting soil type, and herbivory generate intraspecific chemical variation in growth and defense of the tropical shrub, Piper imperiale (Piperaceae). We quantified changes in both growth (e.g., nutritional protein, above- and below-ground biomass) and defense (e.g., imide chemicals) of individual plants using a well-replicated fully factorial shade-house experiment in Costa Rica. We found that plants grown in low light and nutrient-poor residual soil had reduced foliar protein, while those grown in high light and richer old alluvial soil had increased protein. Thus, investment into growth was determined by resource availability and soil composition. Surprisingly, we found that chemical defenses decreased in response to herbivory. We also found that changes in plant protein were more plastic compared to plant defense, indicating that constitutive defenses may be relatively fixed, and thus an adaptation to chronic herbivory that is common in tropical forests. We demonstrate that intraspecific phytochemical variation of P. imperiale is shaped by resource availability from light and soil type. Because environmental heterogeneity occurs over small spatial scales (tens of meters), herbivores may be faced with a complex phytochemical landscape that may regulate how much damage any individual plant sustains.