Home Gardening Trees Green Lemons

Green Lemons Not Turning Yellow- GIY Plants

Basket of green lemons not turning yellow.

When we think of lemons, we picture a vibrant yellow fruit with a tangy taste and refreshing aroma. Yet, many of us might be surprised to learn that lemons start as green fruit. These green lemons might raise a few eyebrows and curiosity. Are they ripe? How do they compare to yellow lemons?

The Journey of a Lemon: Green to Yellow

Like many citrus fruits, lemons start their life as green fruit. But why are they green? The green color is due to chlorophyll, a pigment vital for photosynthesis.

As lemons mature and ripen, they gradually lose this green pigment and turn yellow. This transformation from green to yellow is not just a color change. It’s a sign that the lemon has achieved its optimal level of juiciness and acidity.

Lemons may take around nine months to ripen fully. When growing lemon trees, it’s essential to be patient. Remember, the lemons will never ripen how we want if we rush the process!

Green Lemons vs. Yellow Lemons

A green lemon vs yellow lemon with white background.

Is a green lemon simply an unripe lemon? Not exactly. Green lemons can fully mature and retain their green color if left on the tree. There’s a misconception that green lemons are unripe, but that’s not always true.

A ripe lemon is determined more by its firmness, size, and aroma than its color. If you have a lemon tree, you might find that sometimes lemons stay green even when ripe. This is especially common with certain lemons like the Meyer lemon tree.

Can You Eat Green Lemons?

Absolutely! Green lemons are usually just as edible as yellow lemons. The primary difference lies in the flavor profile. Unripe green lemons can have a more tart, astringent flavor. However, the green lemon juice extracted can still be used in cooking and baking.

Green Lemon vs. Lime

A green lemon vs lime with white background.

Green lemons and limes can look strikingly similar, but they are two distinct citrus fruits. Limes are generally smaller, rounder, and have a more vibrant green skin. Their flavor is also different; limes are naturally more acidic than lemons.

Why Are Some Lemons Not Turning Yellow?

If you’ve noticed that your lemons are not turning yellow, it may be due to a few reasons. The tree may not get enough water or sunlight, which is critical for the lemon’s color change. Alternatively, it could be because the lemons still need to be mature. A lemon fruit takes time to ripen and change color – patience is key!

How to Use Green Lemons in Your Kitchen

Green lemons, like yellow lemons, are incredibly versatile. Their unique flavor can be a delightful addition to various dishes and drinks. Try using green lemon juice instead of yellow in your lemonade for a unique twist, or add zest from a green lemon to your salads and seafood dishes for an exciting flavor.


Whether your lemons are green or yellow, they’re an excellent addition to your diet, offering plenty of vitamin C and a vibrant, refreshing taste. So the next time you come across a green lemon, embrace it. After all, color is just skin deep, but the real value lies within!

Join Us

Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips!