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How Long Does It Take A Lemon To Turn Yellow

How Long Does It Take A Lemon To Turn Yellow

Lemons are a popular citrus fruit known for their vibrant yellow color and tangy flavor. Whether you’re a gardener curious about the growth process or simply interested in the science behind fruit ripening, understanding how long it takes for a lemon to turn yellow can be fascinating. In this article, we will explore the factors that influence the color change in lemons and provide valuable insights into the timeline of this transformation.

The Growth Stages of a Lemon

Before delving into the time it takes for a lemon to turn yellow, it’s essential to understand the growth stages of this fruit. Lemons go through several phases before reaching maturity:

  • Flowering: Lemon trees produce fragrant white flowers, which eventually develop into fruit.
  • Fruit Set: After pollination, the flowers transform into small green fruits.
  • Immature Stage: The green lemons continue to grow and develop, gradually increasing in size.
  • Ripening: As the lemons mature, they undergo a color change from green to yellow.

Factors Affecting Lemon Ripening

The time it takes for a lemon to turn yellow can vary depending on several factors. Let’s explore some of the key influencers:

1. Lemon Variety

There are numerous lemon varieties, each with its own unique characteristics and ripening timelines. For example, the Eureka lemon is known for its quick ripening, typically taking around six to nine months to turn yellow. On the other hand, the Lisbon lemon may take up to 12 months to reach its full yellow color.

2. Climate and Temperature

Climate plays a significant role in lemon ripening. Lemons thrive in warm, subtropical regions with temperatures between 70°F and 85°F (21°C and 29°C). In these optimal conditions, lemons tend to ripen faster. However, cooler climates can slow down the ripening process, prolonging the time it takes for lemons to turn yellow.

3. Sunlight Exposure

Sunlight is crucial for the ripening of lemons. The fruit requires an adequate amount of sunlight to trigger the production of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for the green color of unripe lemons. As the chlorophyll breaks down, the yellow pigments, such as carotenoids, become more visible, resulting in the yellow coloration of ripe lemons.

4. Nutrient Availability

Proper nutrition is essential for healthy lemon growth and ripening. Adequate soil fertility and the availability of essential nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, contribute to the overall health of the lemon tree and its ability to produce ripe, yellow fruit.

Timeline of Lemon Ripening

While the exact timeline for lemon ripening can vary, here is a general overview of the stages involved:

1. Flowering to Fruit Set (2-3 months)

After the lemon tree blooms, it takes approximately two to three months for the flowers to transform into small green fruits. During this stage, the lemons are still immature and not yet ready for consumption.

2. Immature Stage (3-6 months)

Following fruit set, the lemons continue to grow and develop. The duration of this stage can range from three to six months, depending on the lemon variety and environmental conditions. The lemons gradually increase in size but remain green during this period.

3. Ripening (1-2 months)

As the lemons reach maturity, they begin to undergo a color change from green to yellow. The ripening process typically takes around one to two months, but this can vary depending on the factors mentioned earlier. The lemons become softer, juicier, and acquire their characteristic tangy flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Does the size of the lemon affect the ripening time?

No, the size of the lemon does not significantly impact the ripening time. The ripening process is primarily influenced by factors such as variety, climate, sunlight exposure, and nutrient availability.

2. Can I speed up the ripening process of lemons?

While you cannot accelerate the ripening process of lemons, you can ensure optimal conditions for ripening. Providing sufficient sunlight, maintaining proper nutrition, and keeping the lemons in a warm environment can help facilitate the ripening process.

3. Can I eat a lemon when it is still green?

Green lemons are not fully ripe and may have a sour taste. They are generally not consumed as they lack the desired sweetness and flavor associated with ripe, yellow lemons.

4. How can I tell if a lemon is ripe?

A ripe lemon will have a bright yellow color, feel slightly soft when gently squeezed, and emit a fragrant citrus aroma. Additionally, the skin should be smooth and free from blemishes.

5. Can lemons ripen off the tree?

Yes, lemons can continue to ripen after being harvested from the tree. However, the ripening process may be slower compared to when the fruit is left on the tree. Placing the lemons in a warm, well-ventilated area can help expedite the ripening process.

6. How long can ripe lemons be stored?

Ripe lemons can be stored at room temperature for up to one week. If refrigerated, they can last for two to three weeks. However, it’s best to consume lemons as soon as they ripen to enjoy their optimal flavor and freshness.


The time it takes for a lemon to turn yellow depends on various factors, including the lemon variety, climate, sunlight exposure, and nutrient availability. On average, lemons take around one to two months to ripen and acquire their vibrant yellow color. Understanding the growth stages and factors influencing lemon ripening can help gardeners and fruit enthusiasts appreciate the intricate process behind this citrus fruit’s transformation. Remember to provide optimal conditions and patiently wait for your lemons to turn yellow, ensuring a delicious and tangy experience when you finally enjoy them!