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  • Ripening your Citrus Fruit

    Citrus like sun! At least six hours of full sun per day is required. For best productivity provide 8 or more hours of full sun per day.

    Of course, the sun is much hotter in some areas than in others, so the overall intensity of the sun will also play a role. As a general rule, sour fruits need less heat to ripen than sweet-fruited varieties. Here are some general guidelines by variety:

    • Lemons and limes require the least heat to ripen, making them excellent choices for cool-summer areas.
    • The Washington Navel orange has the highest frost tolerance of the sweet oranges. Washington is primarily grown in California's climate zones where there are cool winter nights followed by warm days to pump the sugars into the fruit.
    • Grapefruits require intense, prolonged heat to ripen fully. (Heat causes pigmented grapefruits and pummelos to develop their distinctive red colors.) Grapefruit-pummelo hybrids like Oro Blanco are better suited to more moderate areas, sweetening in the San Francisco Bay Area and other coastal climates.
    • Tangerines and kumquats require high heat for best flavor. Kumquats are among the most frost tolerant of all citrus.
    • Keep in mind that all citrus fruits only ripen on the tree. Ripeness is best judged by sampling flavor, though rind color and time of year can also be good indicators.

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