Former Birmingham loanee Federico Macheda stabbed home early in the second half for Cardiff, and Blues substitute Wes Thomas also had the ball in the net, but both were denied by the flag as Rowett moved to three games unbeaten since replacing Lee Clark while Cardiff await their first away league win this season.
The home side finished with 10 men as Thomas saw red for an off-the-ball incident with Sean Morrison.
Birmingham winger David Cotterill’s right-footed shot was the first attempt of note but his fourth-minute effort was wide of David Marshall’s far post.
Anthony Pilkington had a go at the other end but Darren Randolph got down to his right to save comfortably while Adam Le Fondre also should have done better with a shot from close range.
Randolph was tested minutes later when Macheda found space on the left and Blues captain Paul Robinson nearly deflected the ball into his own net.
The Bluebirds should have led at the break as Macheda again did well to receive Peter Whittingham’s clever ball only to see his drilled shot parried by Randolph.
Macheda had the ball in the net early in the second half but only after an offside call had been made, the Italian benefiting from a loose ball following Robinson’s block but only while clearly ahead of the play.
Rowett introduced Thomas and Demarai Gray from the bench in an attempt to swing things in the home side’s favour.
And they had the ball in the net themselves in the 64th minute as the tide began to turn. Dangerous youngster Gray did superbly on the right to whip in a brilliant cross. Fellow substitute Thomas blasted home from close range at the far post only to see the flag up.
Gray’s effort from the edge of the penalty area was well blocked by Matthew Connolly, amid appeals for handball.
Gray was again in the thick of it in the 80th minute as a shot was blocked and a volley saved by Marshall in the space of a few seconds.
Birmingham striker Clayton Donaldson wasted a brilliant opportunity when put through on the right with two minutes left, panicking and snatching at his shot to leave Marshall’s clean sheet intact.
A heated final few minutes saw Thomas dismissed by referee Kevin Friend for an apparent off-the-ball incident with Morrison which left the defender needing treatment.