I have a level 25 Budew at the front of my party and it still won't evolve. Do you need the Soothe Bell?
You need high friendship during the daytime 4 AM to 8 PM you can use the soothe bell to increase your friendship faster you just aren't at a high friendship yet
Budew evolves by having high friendship and leveing up between 4AM and 8PM.
This means you dont necessarily need the soothe bell but its defineatley easier for gaining Friendship.