Yellow spots on the orchid. Is the plant dying?

We received another question regarding the Moth Orchid: Good afternoon! A few days ago, I noticed these spots on the leaves of my orchid. This morning, I also started to see small spots on the leaves of a neighboring one. As a beginner, I've never encountered this issue before. Could it be a disease? Or pests? Please, help me!”
Let's dive into the subject and figure out what it could be.

There is no definite answer as to what happened to your orchid. The yellow spots you notice could be due to a variety of factors. Common culprits include bacterial or fungal infections, nutrient deficiencies, or damage from pests such as scale or spider mites. Sometimes, the reason is inappropriate environmental conditions like excessive sunlight, inconsistent watering, or fluctuating temperatures could also be to blame.

#1 Bacterial or fungal infections

The yellow spots might be symptoms of a bacterial or fungal infection. Fungi like Cercospora and Colletotrichum can cause leaf spots, and bacterial leaf spot is usually caused by bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas or Xanthomonas. Fungal and bacterial diseases usually start as small spots that eventually grow larger and merge, often turning brown or black in the center.
Treatment: For bacterial or fungal infections, the first line of action is to isolate the infected plant to prevent the spread of the disease. Remove infected leaves and dispose of them properly. Commercially available fungicides and bactericides can help control the disease. Remember to follow label instructions for the safest and most effective use.

#2 Nutrient deficiencies

Particularly, a lack of magnesium or iron can lead to yellowing leaves with green veins, a condition known as chlorosis. Nitrogen deficiency may also cause yellowing but usually affects the entire leaf rather than causing spots.
Treatment: If yellow spots are due to nutrient deficiencies, a balanced orchid fertilizer can help. Look for one with micronutrients, including magnesium and iron. Always apply fertilizer as per the instructions on the package to avoid over-fertilization, which can cause more harm than good.

#3 Pest damage

Yellow spots may be a sign of infestation by pests such as scale insects or spider mites. These pests suck plant juices from the leaves, resulting in yellow spots, wilting, and sometimes premature leaf drop.
Treatment: For pests like scale or spider mites, consider an insecticidal soap or a specific pesticide to control the infestation. Sometimes, physically removing the pests with a soft cloth or a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol may work for a minor infestation.

#4 Environmental stress

Overexposure to sunlight can cause sunburn, leading to yellow or white spots on the leaves. On the other hand, overwatering or underwatering may lead to root rot, which can indirectly cause yellow spots on leaves due to reduced nutrient uptake.
Treatment: Avoid exposing your orchids to direct sunlight, particularly during the hottest part of the day. Water your orchids thoroughly, but let them dry out slightly between waterings. Ensure good air circulation and maintain consistent temperature and humidity. And to learn more about caring for your orchid, we suggest reading this article

Remember, orchids have specific care requirements. Yellow spots on your orchid's leaves should not be a cause for panic, but a signal to check on your plant's health. To ensure your diagnosis use the Plant Doctor feature. Patience, diligence, and a little botanical know-how will help restore your orchid to its resplendent glory.