How long for a lemon to ripen?

 When to Harvest Lemons

Overripe fruit is sweeter - So if you want a sweeter lemon go ahead and leave it on the tree
Glossy - Look for a smoother “glossy” appearance
Ripening off the tree - Lemons that are yellow with a tinge of green they will most likely ripen on the counter.
Feel -  Feeling the firmness of the lemon is a great way to tell. If the fruit is soft it will mean that the fruit is ripe and ready to harvest.  The harder the fruit the longer it needs to stay on the tree

Lemons take months to mature and ripen. From the inception of fruit (Bloom and fruit set) it will take months for the tree to produce a fruit that is harvestable. What this means is that you will have to wait and estimated 7-9 months for the lemon fruit to fully mature. Just like a human, the tree needs time to produce a fully mature fruit.  Hang ion there and have patience as the growth of the fruit is what you are looking for.

Being in a home setting is quite unique as you are able to remove some fruit and allow for the ones you select on the tree to get larger. By removing, or thinning fruit you are allowing the tree to put its energy into the fruit that is there… One thing to consider though is the amount of sunlight the tree and fruit gets. Citrus need lots of light in order to do what they do… Less light could effect the fruit and prolong the color change in fruit.  Heavy light is important of you are looking for the lemon to turn that yellow color we see in the stores. Also know that a yellowish green color is going to sometimes be the case for how the fruit looks when ripe.

Another thing to consider is helping your tree out with micronutrients. What micronutrients do is help the tree with minor and secondary elements that the tree needs to be at peak performance to produce the fruit it has.  For example, calcium and boron are important for cell wall development and cuticle strengthening.  What this means, like mentioned in the human terms earlier, is that when you apply micronutrients (in addition to fertilizer) you are getting the tree the “prenatal” vitamins that it needs to produce.


The Neighborhood Gardener – Growing Citrus in Your Backyard
Lemon Growing in the Florida Home Landscape

Meyer Lemon (Citrus x meyeri)
Citrus Culture in the Home Landscape
Your Florida Dooryard Citrus Guide