Fall is quickly arriving as you sit and wait for your tomatoes to ripen for harvest before snow or frost gets the best of them.  This period of time can be one of the most difficult in gardening.  Seasoned gardeners likely know all aspects of their garden plants, but do you know how long it takes for tomatoes to turn red after planting? If you don’t, here is your opportunity to learn about about the ripening process of these fruits.

Ripening is not a specific process for tomatoes and it is based on many factors. This is what makes it difficult to predict exactly how long it will take a mature green tomato to ripen or turn red. Generally,  they take between 20 and 30 days from blossoming until they reach maturity. From maturity, they take another 20 to 30 days to ripen (to change color from green to yellow to red, orange, or yellow, depending on the variety of the tomato).

Either way, one trick is that you don’t have to wait until your tomatoes have turned red before you harvest them. You can pick your fruits as soon as they begin to change color and place them aside in a basket or any other out-of-the-way location where they can sit and ripen.

So, how long does it take tomatoes to turn red? The answer is they take a total of between 40 and 60 days from blossoming to ripening as a fruit.


Two factors play important roles when it comes to how tomatoes ripen:

1. Temperature

  • If you place your tomatoes under extremely cold temperatures, they may fail to ripen and instead rot. Your fruits may stay green, yellow or any other color instead of turning red upon the conclusion of the ripening process, but rotten on the inside. Even if they do ripen, the fruits may be bland and without flavor.
  • On the other hand, if you store your tomatoes at extremely high temperatures, they may ripen faster, but with poor flavor quality because too much heat interferes with the ripening process.
  • Green tomatoes require moderate warmth to turn red effectively. They need temperatures between 70 and 75 F to ripen properly just like other fruits do. So, never place your green tomatoes in the fridge, hoping that they will ripen in a proper manner! Just put the fruits in a bag, and you will love the results at the end of the ripening process.

2. The Variety of Your Tomatoes

Another factor that significantly affects how your tomatoes will ripen is variety. The number of days that it will take for your tomatoes to turn red will depend on this factor quite a lot. Each tomato variety has a time to ripe fruit.

Whereas, one variety may take as little as 20 days to ripen another one may take as many as 30 days for the same purpose. Most tomatoes, however, will ripen within 20 to 25 days from the time of harvest.

NOTE: Some tomato varieties may ripen to orange, yellow, pink or purple—even green in some cases as opposed to red. Therefore, if you are trying a new variety of tomatoes, ensure that you know what they are supposed to look like at maturity. This will help you avoid getting into a situation whereby you don’t know what to do when you don’t see the red color even after the ripening period is over.

Many people do not know how to tell when some green tomato varieties are ripe. You can tell they are ready for use when you see the underlying color turn from light green to more golden or yellow. The fruit will also feel soft and juicy on the outside.


Now you know how long it takes for tomatoes to turn red. You have also seen how temperature and variety affect how your fruits will ripen. Avoid too much or too little warmth if you don’t want your tomatoes to rot. Subject them to a moderate temperature range and your fruits will ripen properly. Also, you can now tell when your green tomatoes are ripe. You know they are ready for eating when you see the underlying color of the fruits turn from light green to more golden or yellow while they feel soft and juicy on the outside.