Tomatoes on a 3rd floor balcony?

(Question)

I have started some tomato plants, far more than I need, and I’d like to give a few of the cherry tomato seedlings to a friend of mine in May/June.  She will be moving to a new apartment around that time, and her balcony is east-facing and up on the third floor.  Would a potted cherry tomato plant stand a good chance of being pollinated and getting enough sun in these conditions?

(Answer)

Tomatoes require about 6 hours of direct sunlight – the east facing exposure may be fine, but check with your friend to determine if she really gets that much sunlight.

As for pollination, tomatoes are self-fertile, meaning that the male and female parts are in the same flowers.  Normally, the breezes will carry pollen down the pistil and a little help from bees is always good.  On the 3rd floor, some bees may find the plants but more likely they will not, and there may not be any breezes ruffling the plants, depending on the balcony structure (railing, walls, etc.)

But not to worry!  Your friend can help the tomatoes along, by gently shaking the plants or or gently flicking the flowers.  She will see the pollen fly out.

Good luck to both of you with your tomato growing!