Plants growth in mining environments are restricted by waste properties. A knowledge of plant species response to waste characteristics is necessary for restoration of mine areas. In this study the ecological preferences to physical and chemical properties of coal wastes were evaluated for Artemisia scoparia, Artemisia absinthium, Capparis spinosa and Bassia prostrata which are naturally colonized on coal waste. Plant species abundance and wastes (up to 20 cm in depth) were sampled in 138 plots. Plant species responses were assessed using HOF model. Results showed that A. scoparia and A. absinthium had an optimum where the clay and silt increased while C. spinosa and B. prostrata had a wide ecological niche for sand. All species showed an optimum response where coal wastes had low moisture content. A niche separation was found for B. prostrata along the gradient of electrical conductivity. A. scoparia, C. spinosa, and B. prostrata had similar ecological niche in response to soil pH, although C. spinosa preferred lower pH. A. scoparia was found in a wide range of N, P, and organic matter. The results indicated that A. scoparia positively responded to all heavy metals with plateau (III) response to Cu and Ni and bimodal (VII) to Zn and Pb. Plant species responded differently to physical and chemical properties of coal wastes and the most frequent response shape were IV and VII.