Green Lemons Not Turning Yellow (11 Amazing Tips To Ripen)

Green lemons are common in supermarkets, but have you ever wondered why some of them never seem to turn yellow? Lemons are known for their bright yellow color, but sometimes they remain green even when fully ripened. This can be confusing for consumers who rely on color as an indicator of ripeness.

The green color of lemons is caused by the presence of chlorophyll, the same pigment that gives plants their green color. However, the lack of yellow pigments, such as xanthophylls, can prevent the green lemons from turning yellow.

In this article, we will explore why some lemons stay green and what it means for their taste and nutritional value.

Green Lemons

Green lemons are a type of citrus fruit that is often found in grocery stores and markets. They appear similar to yellow lemons, but their skin remains green even when fully matured. The green color of the lemon skin is due to chlorophyll, also found in plants’ leaves.

While green lemons may look unripe, they can be fully mature and ready to eat. However, the lack of yellow pigments, such as xanthophylls, can affect green lemons’ taste and nutritional value compared to their yellow counterparts.

This article will delve into the causes of green lemons and how they differ from yellow lemons.

Why Do My Lemons Stay Green?

There are several reasons why lemons may stay green even when fully matured. One possible cause is genetics, as some lemon varieties naturally produce green fruit even when fully ripe. Another reason may be the growing conditions of the lemon tree.

Lemons that receive less sunlight may not develop the yellow pigments necessary for the fruit to turn yellow. Additionally, the use of certain pesticides and chemicals can also prevent lemons from turning yellow. It’s important to note that the color of a lemon’s skin does not necessarily indicate its ripeness or quality.

Green lemons can still be fully mature and juicy, with the same tart flavor as yellow lemons. However, the lack of yellow pigments in green lemons can mean they contain lower levels of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, than yellow lemons.

If you are concerned about your green lemons, you can try leaving them on the tree for longer or exposing them to more sunlight. Alternatively, you can try picking them when they feel heavy for their size and giving them a taste to see if they are ripe enough for your liking.

11 Reasons Why Lemons May Not Ripen And Turn Yellow?

There are several reasons why lemons may not ripen and turn yellow, including:

  1. Genetics: Some lemon varieties are naturally green even when fully ripe and will not turn yellow.
  2. Immaturity: If the lemon is not fully mature, it will not turn yellow.
  3. Lack of sunlight: Lemons not exposed to enough sunlight may not develop the yellow pigments necessary for the fruit to turn yellow.
  4. Cool temperatures: Lemons grown in cool climates may not ripen properly and remain green.
  5. Pesticides and chemicals: Certain pesticides and chemicals can prevent lemons from turning yellow.
  6. Soil conditions: Poor soil conditions, such as a lack of nutrients, can affect the ripening of lemons.
  7. Overwatering: Overwatering can cause lemons to grow too quickly, resulting in immature fruit that does not ripen properly.
  8. Underwatering: Untreated Lemons may not develop properly and remain green.
  9. Disease: Certain diseases can affect the ripening process of lemons, causing them to remain green.
  10. Insect damage: Damage from insects can affect the ripening process of lemons and prevent them from turning yellow.
  11. Harvesting too early: If lemons are harvested too early, they may not have had enough time to develop the yellow pigments needed for ripening.

Suppose you are concerned about your green lemons. In that case, it is best to consult with a local horticulturist or agricultural extension office to determine the cause and find the best solution for ripening your lemons.

Are Green Lemons Good For You?

Green lemons are not bad for you but may not be as nutritious as yellow lemons. The green color of lemons is due to chlorophyll, which can affect the nutritional value of the fruit. Chlorophyll is an antioxidant with some health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and promoting detoxification.

However, green lemons contain lower levels of other important nutrients, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, than yellow lemons. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that is key to immune function, skin health, and wound healing. Carotenoids are another group of antioxidants important for eye health and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

In summary, green lemons are not harmful to consume but may not provide the same nutritional benefits as yellow lemons. If you are looking to maximize the nutritional benefits of your citrus fruit, it is recommended to choose ripe yellow lemons.

What Are The Green Lemons Benefits?

Green lemons, or unripe lemons, have some potential health benefits. While they may not contain the same levels of nutrients as fully ripened yellow lemons, green lemons contain certain compounds that may benefit health. Here are some potential benefits of green lemons:

  1. Rich in Vitamin C: Green lemons contain vitamin C, an important nutrient that supports immune function, skin health, and wound healing.
  2. Anti-inflammatory properties: Green lemons contain chlorophyll, a compound with anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation.
  3. Digestive health: Green lemons contain pectin, a type of soluble fiber that can help support digestive health by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and regulating bowel movements.
  4. Liver health: Green lemons may benefit liver health due to the presence of compounds like naringenin, which has been shown to protect against liver damage.
  5. Antioxidant activity: Green lemons contain flavonoids, a group of antioxidants that may help protect against oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

While green lemons may not be as nutritionally rich as fully ripened yellow lemons, they can still provide some health benefits. However, it is important to note that green lemons may also contain higher acidity levels, which can cause tooth enamel erosion and other digestive issues in some people.

Therefore, consuming green lemons in moderation and as part of a balanced, healthy diet is recommended.

How To Ripen Green Lemons? Awesome Tips

If you have green lemons that you want to ripen, here are some tips to help them turn yellow:

  1. Leave them on the tree: If the lemons are still attached to the tree, leave them on for as long as possible to allow them to ripen naturally. This is the best way to ensure the lemons ripen properly and develop the best flavor.
  2. Place them in a paper bag: If the lemons are already picked, place them in a paper bag and fold the top of the bag over to keep them contained. The ethylene gas produced by the lemons will be trapped in the bag, which can speed up the ripening process.
  3. Add an apple or banana: To further enhance the ethylene gas production and speed up the ripening process, add an apple or banana to the paper bag with the lemons.
  4. Store them in a warm, sunny spot: Lemons ripen more quickly when exposed to warmth and sunlight. Place them in a sunny spot like a windowsill to speed up the ripening process.
  5. Turn them frequently: To ensure even ripening, turn the lemons daily so that all sides are exposed to sunlight and warmth.
  6. Be patient: Depending on the level of ripeness of the lemons and the conditions they are exposed to, it may take a few days to a few weeks for them to turn yellow. Be patient and monitor them regularly to ensure they ripen properly.

By following these tips, you can help your green lemons ripen and turn yellow, allowing you to enjoy their full flavor and nutritional benefits.

What To Do With Green Lemons?

Green lemons can be used in various ways, even if not fully ripened. Here are some ideas:

  1. Use them for cooking: Green lemons can be used in savory dishes such as marinades, dressings, and sauces. Their tart flavor can add a tangy kick to dishes like grilled fish, roasted vegetables, or salads.
  2. Make lemonade: Green lemons can make a refreshing and tangy lemonade. Simply juice the lemons and mix them with sugar and water to taste.
  3. Preserve them: Green lemons can be preserved in salt to make a tangy, flavorful condiment known as preserved lemons. The salt helps to soften the lemons and reduce their bitterness.
  4. Use them in baking: Green lemons can be used in baked goods such as lemon bars or cakes. While they may not provide as much sweetness as fully ripened lemons, they can still add a tart and tangy flavor.
  5. Infuse them in water: Green lemons can be sliced and added to water to create a refreshing infused water. This can be a healthy and flavorful way to stay hydrated.
  6. Decorate with them: Green lemons can be used as a decorative element in table settings, flower arrangements, or as a natural air freshener.

Overall, there are many ways to use green lemons, even if they are not fully ripened. Their tart flavor and nutritional benefits can add a unique and healthy element to many dishes and drinks.

Green Lemons Vs. Yellow Lemons

Green lemons are simply lemons that have not fully ripened and turned yellow. As a result, green lemons have a different taste, texture, and nutritional profile than yellow lemons. Here are some differences between green and yellow lemons:

  1. Flavor: Green lemons have a tart and acidic flavor, whereas yellow lemons have a more balanced sweet and sour taste.
  2. Texture: Green lemons are firmer and less juicy than yellow lemons, making them more difficult to juice or zest.
  3. Nutritional profile: Yellow lemons have higher vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients than green lemons. However, green lemons also contain some nutritional benefits, such as chlorophyll and pectin.
  4. Ripeness: Green lemons are unripe and not fully developed, while yellow lemons are fully ripened and ready to use.

In general, yellow lemons are more commonly used in cooking, baking, and other culinary applications due to their milder flavor and higher nutritional content. However, green lemons can still be used in certain recipes or applications to add a tangy and unique flavor.

How To Know If Lemons Are Ripen Perfectly?

When perfectly ripe, lemons will have a bright yellow color and a slightly soft texture. Here are some tips for knowing if your lemons are ripe:

  1. Check the color: Ripe lemons will have a consistent bright yellow throughout the fruit, without any green spots or patches. However, some lemons may have a slightly greenish tint near the stem, which is normal.
  2. Check the texture: Ripe lemons will be slightly soft to the touch but still firm. Pressing your finger into the skin should give a little bit but not be too mushy or soft.
  3. Smell them: Ripe lemons will have a fragrant and citrusy aroma, which can indicate their ripeness.
  4. Check the weight: Ripe lemons will feel heavier than unripe ones. This is because as lemons ripen, they lose some of their water content, which makes them denser.
  5. Squeeze them gently: When you squeeze a ripe lemon gently, it should give slightly but not be too soft or mushy. It may not be fully ripe if it feels too firm, and if it feels too soft, it may be overripe.

Following these tips, you can ensure that your lemons are perfectly ripe and ready to use in your favorite recipes.

How To Make Lemonades With Green Lemons?

Making lemonade with green lemons can be a refreshing and tangy alternative to fully ripened lemons. Here’s a simple recipe to make green lemonade:


  • 4-5 green lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar or sweetener of your choice
  • 4 cups water
  • Ice


  1. Wash the green lemons and cut them in half.
  2. Juice the green lemons and strain out any seeds or pulp.
  3. Mix the lemon juice with the sugar and water in a pitcher until the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Taste the lemonade and add more sugar or water to your preference and adjust the sweetness and tartness to your preference.
  5. Chill the lemonade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.
  6. Serve the green lemonade over ice, and enjoy!

Optional: You can add a few fresh mint or basil sprigs to the pitcher for a refreshing twist.

Note: Green lemons may not be as sweet as fully ripened lemons, so you may need to adjust the amount of sugar used in the recipe to your liking.

Why Is My Lemon Green Inside?

If your lemon is green inside, it could be a result of several factors:

  1. Immature fruit: The lemon may not have fully matured and ripened yet, so the inside of the fruit is still green.
  2. Environmental factors: The lemon may have been exposed to extreme temperatures or lack of sunlight, which can affect the ripening process and cause the fruit to remain green inside.
  3. Nutrient deficiencies: The tree may lack certain nutrients, such as nitrogen or potassium, affecting the fruit’s color and ripening.
  4. Disease or pest damage: Certain diseases or pests can affect the color and ripening of the fruit, causing it to remain green inside.
  5. Genetics: Some lemon varieties, such as the lime-like “Buddha’s hand” lemon, may naturally have green flesh.

In most cases, green lemons are safe to eat and can be used in cooking and baking. However, if the lemon appears moldy or has an off smell, it should be discarded. Wash and inspect your lemons before using them in any recipe is always a good idea.

Are Unripe Lemons Poisonous?

Unripe lemons are not generally considered to be poisonous, but they may not be as palatable as ripe lemons. Due to their high acidity content, eating unripe lemons may cause digestive discomforts, such as nausea or stomach cramps.

It’s important to note that some parts of the lemon, such as the seeds and skin, contain compounds that can be toxic in large quantities. Lemon seeds contain small amounts of amygdalin, which can release cyanide when ingested in large amounts.

The skin of some citrus fruits, including lemons, contains compounds called psoralens, which can cause skin irritation and even blistering when exposed to sunlight.

Generally, it’s best to consume ripe lemons with a slightly soft texture that have turned yellow. If you accidentally consume an unripe lemon or experience any adverse reactions after consuming lemon, it’s best to consult with a medical professional.

Q1: Why Do Baby Lemons On Tree Turns Yellow And Fall Off?

If you’re noticing baby lemons on your tree turning yellow and falling off, there could be several reasons for this:

  1. Lack of pollination: If your lemon tree is not getting enough pollination, the flowers may not be able to develop into fruit properly. This can cause the baby lemons to fall off prematurely.
  2. Overcrowding: If too many baby lemons are on the tree, they may compete for nutrients and resources. This can cause some of the fruit to drop off to allow the remaining fruit to grow properly.
  3. Nutrient deficiencies: If the tree lacks certain nutrients, such as nitrogen or potassium, it may not be able to support the growth of the fruit. This can cause the baby lemons to turn yellow and fall off prematurely.
  4. Pests or disease: Certain pests and diseases can affect the growth and development of fruit on a lemon tree, causing the baby lemons to fall off prematurely.

To prevent baby lemons from turning yellow and falling off, it’s important to ensure that your tree is getting adequate pollination and nutrients. You can also monitor your tree for signs of pests or diseases and take steps to control them if necessary.

Q2: Why Do Lemons Turn Green?

Lemons may turn green for several reasons:

  1. Immaturity: If a lemon is not yet fully ripe, it may remain green. This is because the green chlorophyll pigment in the fruit has not yet broken down, revealing the yellow or orange pigments underneath.
  2. Environmental factors: Changes in temperature, humidity, and light exposure can affect the ripening process of lemons. Sometimes, lemons may turn green to respond to stress, such as extreme heat or cold.
  3. Varietal differences: Some lemon varieties, such as the “Buddha’s hand” lemon, are naturally green in color and may not turn yellow even when fully ripe.
  4. Nutrient deficiencies: If a lemon tree lacks certain nutrients, such as nitrogen or potassium, it may affect the color of the fruit and cause it to remain green.

In most cases, green lemons are safe to eat and can be used in cooking and baking. However, they may not be as sweet or flavorful as fully-ripened lemons. If you want to ripen green lemons, you can try storing them in a paper bag with an apple or banana, which releases ethylene gas that can help speed up the ripening process.

Q3: How Long Can You Leave Lemons On The Tree?

The time you can leave lemons on the tree depends on a few factors, such as the variety of lemons and growing conditions. In general, lemons should be harvested when fully mature and have developed their characteristic color, flavor, and aroma.

For most lemon varieties, this means waiting until the fruit turns bright, uniform yellow. However, some varieties, such as the Eureka lemon, may have a slightly greenish tint even when fully ripe. You can also tell if a lemon is ready to be harvested by gently pulling on it; if it comes off the tree easily, it is likely ready.

It’s important not to leave lemons on the tree for too long past maturity, as they can become overripe and start to rot or develop mold. In general, lemons should be harvested within 4-6 months of reaching maturity, although this can vary depending on the specific growing conditions and variety of lemons.

If you have a large crop of lemons and cannot harvest them all at once, you can store them at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.

Q4: Can You Eat Unripe Green Lemons?

While unripe green lemons are safe to eat, they are generally not as sweet or flavorful as fully ripe lemons. Unripe lemons may also contain higher levels of citric acid, making them more tart and acidic in flavor.

If you eat unripe green lemons, you can try using them in cooking or baking to add a sour or acidic flavor to dishes. For example, you could slice them thinly and use them as a garnish for fish or seafood dishes or in marinades or salad dressings.

It’s worth noting that if you’re using unripe lemons in cooking, you may need to adjust the amount of sugar or other sweeteners to balance out the tartness of the fruit. Additionally, unripe lemons may not have the same nutritional benefits as fully ripe lemons, as they may not have developed all of their vitamins and minerals.

Q5: What Month Do My Lemons Turn Yellow?

The exact month that lemons turn yellow can vary depending on the variety of lemons and growing conditions. Most lemon varieties will begin to ripen in the late fall or winter months, with some continuing to ripen through the spring and summer.

For example, the Eureka lemon, a common variety grown in California, typically ripens in late fall and can continue to produce ripe fruit through spring and into early summer. The Meyer lemon, a popular variety for home gardens, usually ripens in winter.

However, the ripening process of lemons can also be affected by factors such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight exposure. In some cases, lemons may ripen earlier or later than usual, depending on the growing conditions.

To determine when your lemons will turn yellow, it’s best to keep an eye on the fruit and look for signs of maturity, such as a bright, uniform color and a fragrant aroma. You can also gently pull on the fruit to see if it comes off the tree easily, indicating that it is fully ripe and ready to be harvested.

Q6: How Often Should Lemon Trees Be Watered?

The frequency of watering for lemon trees can vary depending on factors such as the climate, soil type, and age of the tree. In general, lemon trees require regular watering to thrive and produce healthy fruit.

During the growing season, which typically runs from spring through fall, lemon trees should be watered deeply once or twice a week. This means giving the tree enough water to soak the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches. The exact amount of water needed will depend on the size of the tree and the specific growing conditions, but a general guideline is to provide 1-2 inches of water per week.

During hot, dry weather, lemon trees may require more frequent watering to prevent the soil from drying completely. On the other hand, during periods of heavy rainfall, you may need to adjust the watering schedule to avoid over-watering and waterlogged soil.

When the tree is dormant and not actively growing in the winter months, watering can be reduced to once every 2-3 weeks. However, it’s important to continue monitoring the soil moisture level and adjust the watering schedule based on the weather and growing conditions.

Q7: What Is The Best Fertilizer For Lemon Trees?

The best fertilizer for lemon trees provides the tree with the essential nutrients for healthy growth and fruit production. Lemon trees require a balanced fertilizer that contains a mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and trace amounts of other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron.

A good option for fertilizing lemon trees is a slow-release granular fertilizer that can be applied once or twice a year, depending on the specific product and the tree’s growing conditions. Look for a fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of around 2-1-1 or 3-1-1, providing a balanced mix of nutrients.

Another option is to use a citrus-specific fertilizer, formulated specifically for the needs of lemon trees and other citrus plants. These fertilizers often contain a higher level of potassium, which is important for fruit development.

When applying fertilizer to lemon trees, following the manufacturer’s instructions and applying the fertilizer evenly around the tree’s drip line, the area beneath the outermost branches is important. Be sure to water the tree thoroughly after fertilizing to help the nutrients soak into the soil and reach the tree’s roots.

Q8: Why Are My Lemons Bitter?

There are several reasons why your lemons may taste bitter, including:

  1. Under-ripe fruit: The lemons may taste bitter if they are not fully ripe. Wait until the lemons are fully yellow before harvesting them for a sweeter flavor.
  2. Over-ripe fruit: Over-ripe lemons can also become bitter. Check your lemons regularly and harvest them when they are fully ripe.
  3. Environmental stress: Environmental factors such as temperature, sunlight, and water stress can cause lemons to become bitter. Ensure your lemon tree is properly watered and receives adequate sunlight.
  4. Pests or disease: Certain pests or diseases can cause lemons to become bitter. Check your tree for any signs of pest infestation or disease and treat it accordingly.
  5. Genetic factors: Some lemon varieties are naturally more bitter than others. Consider planting a different lemon variety or using the lemons in recipes that call for a slightly tart or bitter flavor.
  6. Harvesting and storage: Lemons harvested too early or stored improperly can develop a bitter taste. Store your lemons at room temperature and avoid direct sunlight or moisture exposure.

Q9: How Do You Revive A Dying Lemon Tree?

Reviving a dying lemon tree can be challenging, but it is possible with proper care and attention. Here are some steps you can take to help revive a dying lemon tree:

  1. Assess the tree’s condition: Identify the problem causing the tree to decline. It could be due to over-watering, under-watering, pests, disease, nutrient deficiencies, or environmental factors.
  2. Correct the problem: Once you’ve identified it, take steps to correct it. For example, if the tree is being overwatered, reduce the watering frequency, or if it’s suffering from a nutrient deficiency, apply a balanced fertilizer.
  3. Prune the tree: Remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches to promote new growth.
  4. Provide proper care: Ensure the tree receives adequate water, sunlight, and nutrients. Water deeply and infrequently, and provide regular applications of a balanced fertilizer. Mulch around the tree’s base to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  5. Monitor the tree’s progress: Keep an eye on it and monitor its growth and health. If the tree does not show improvement, consider consulting with a professional arborist or horticulturist for further advice and assistance.

It’s important to note that not all dying lemon trees can be revived. If the tree is severely damaged or has been declining for an extended period, it may not be possible to save it. In such cases, removing the tree and replanting a new one may be necessary.


In conclusion, green lemons can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet, and they can be ripened with some simple techniques. Green lemons have several health benefits, including being a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants.

However, knowing the potential risks of consuming unripe or under-ripe lemons is essential. It’s also important to properly care for your lemon tree to ensure it produces healthy, ripe fruit. If you’re experiencing issues with your lemon tree, there are steps you can take to revive it and help it thrive.

Following the tips and techniques mentioned in this discussion, you can enjoy delicious, ripe lemons and maintain a healthy and productive lemon tree.