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When Do You Harvest Ruby Red Grapefruit?

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Ruby red grapefruits do not have a set ripeness stage; they gradually improve in taste and increase in size as they mature on the tree. You can check the readiness of this fruit as early as September throughout the southern United States, and it can be harvested through May.

Expert Insight

Horticulturist Julian W. Sawes recommends removing grapefruits from the tree in its first and second year. This helps the tree focus all its energy toward growth, which could increase its fruit production in subsequent years.


A green peel in the early months is not an indication of whether the inner fruit is good to eat; taste one at a time over this period to see if the grapefruits are mature. A grapefruit that feels heavy for its size has a lot of juice, and one that is overly ripe has wrinkled skin.


Ruby red grapefruits will remain edible for two to three weeks if they are refrigerated. Unlike some fruits, grapefruits will not continue to ripen after they are harvested from the tree.


Grapefruits are no longer good for harvest once they begin to fall from the tree or when the inner seeds begin to sprout. A late harvest can result in less fruit production the following year.

Grow Ruby Red Grapefruit Trees From Seed

Pick a fresh Ruby Red grapefruit to extract seeds from as early in the ripening season as possible. While most California Ruby Reds ripen from February to June, coastal fruits may mature a month earlier. It should feel firm but not hard and should bounce back into shape when you squeeze it. The fruit should be slightly ovate with a flat bottom. Don’t cut the fruit with a knife to avoid damaging the few seeds that it may contain. Rinse the seeds under cold running water until they don’t feel slippery anymore. Fill the cells of a seed-starting six pack with equal parts Perlite or sand and peat moss, or use a good commercial potting mix. Cover the flat loosely with a clear plastic bag. Remove the plastic when the Ruby Reds sprout. Keep the surface soil evenly moist, but never wet or soggy. These plants hate wet feet. Keep them at about 60 to 70 degrees F. Plant the grapefruit seedling in a fertile, well-draining location in full sun when it’s about 4 or 5 inches tall. Choose a spot on the southern or southeastern side of a building to protect it from cool weather.

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